An Interview with Lincsquad’s Matt Porter.
Matt Porter, has been a member of Lincsquad for six years and has been instrumental in the organisation of the annual Paul Kirk Sportive and raising thousands of pounds for charities in the process. Matt recently set up a series of Sportives in the area including the Flat N Fast 100 (Thorne), the Ross Tiger 100(Grimsby) and the Trent Valley 100(Gainsborough). I think you get the gist, If they have ‘100’ in the title, they’re going to be tough! Big thanks to Matt for finding the time for this interview. He’s had a testing week! When we caught up with him. His engine had just ‘blown’ whilst carrying out Risk Assessments for a Sportive, hopefully this didn’t cloud his answers too much.
Details of the above sportives can be found at http://www.sportivehq.com/
Matt, give us a quick insight in to how you started off fund raising for charities?
I’ve been Involved in charity cycling for 11 years, since I started cycling. My first year of cycling I was invited to join the Scunthorpe Treaderz and ride a charity ride of 450 miles in 5 days, I trained hard and completed it which wasn’t bad for someone who had been a 20 a day smoker up till 9 months previous. I also got loads of sponsorship that year as I don’t think many people believed I could manage it! I continued as one of several key players in the Scunthorpe Treaderz, riding and raising approximately £6k per year for local charities.
That’s an impressive amount. What do you find the most rewarding in what some would see as a thankless task?
I love handing over cash to charities! It’s not the smiley face in the paper that I enjoy, it’s the knowing in your heart that you have made a difference. The most rewarding moment of that time for me was after a double coast to coast in 4 days, riding back into St. Luke’s School in Scunthorpe and getting cheered in by all the kids, no feeling like it! After 5 years with the Treaderz we came to a natural end, people get tired of sponsoring the same people every year, so it does get difficult. It was at this point where I thought that a sportive would be a better way to fund raise and this is where my involvement with Lincsquad started.
Matt, as you’re the first person to feature in these interviews you’ll find there’ll be some random questions fired your way……..
What’s your proudest Sporting achievement?
My proudest sporting achievement and event organiser moment is one in the same. It was the Scunthorpe Treaderz ride from Scunthorpe to Wootton Bassett in a day. 186 miles ridden, event director, cycled the route with everyone whilst on hands free mobile directing the event and support vehicles/staff. Sometimes I do doubt my sanity, we managed it but that last 40 miles on the Fosse Way nearly killed me, I thought those hills would never end!
That really is a difficult one, like music, it depends what mood you are in, I do like a lot of Coen Brothers films, if I had to pin in down to which one I’d say ‘Burn after Reading’ but then again I do like a lot of films that Johhny Depp is in, ‘Fear and loathing in Las Vegas’ being a favourite of his acting performances.
An easier question then? What’s the worst, most frustrating part about organising these events (engines blowing up aside!)?
The hardest part about being an event organizer is being ‘at work’ 24/7, I get calls constantly, especially in the run up to events but at the end of the day, I do the events because I enjoy it and I have a very understanding wife, who has at times done support roles at some of the events, without her support I would struggle.
What’s your favourite, Kayak, Swim, Cycle or Run?
My sporting preference which most of you would guess is cycling but a close second to that is open water swimming. My favourite ride of all time would be on one of the Treaderz tours, ‘Five Countries in 4 Days’. We stayed near Bastogne in Houffalize, Belgium. One of the days we rode from Houffalize, through Liege towards Masstricht. It was basically like riding the Liege – Bastogne – Liege, the toughest days cycling ever, some of those hills, especially the one out of Liege were enough to make grown men cry! We did it finishing on the usual 5km downhill back into Houffalize to be greeted by a local carnival, it was a great atmosphere, we just hit the bars straight away.
I don’t actually have a sporting hero or otherwise, I don’t really ‘do’ celebrities of any kind, I normally have to ask my wife ‘who’s that?’ a lot of the time. A lifetime inspiration for me would be my father, he’s had a terminal illness for 30 years but always maintained a positive attitude and never complained, if I have a hero in life, it’s him.
Best advice received and by whom.?
The best advice I’ve received is ‘ You can achieve anything you put your mind to’ by my mum Elinor, it can be applied and works for anything. If I were to pass on my pearls of wisdom to my children it would be to never give up, whatever you’re doing. (Elinor, Matt’s mum is known to most as being our Timekeeper [as well as many more roles] and friendly face at the Lincsquad TT series).
My dream job, would be having my own company as a cycling event organiser. There’s no point having dreams unless you’re going to chase them, you only live once! I feel very passionate about the Paul Kirk Sportive, after 5 years it is a very polished event with quite a unique atmosphere on the day which gets better every year, whatever crazy weather we get! It’s this passion that has driven me to start my own events company Sportive HQ. I aim to use Sportive HQ to fund more charity events. I’m hoping that if I make enough profit in 2015 I will be able to fund an event for 50 cyclists, collectively raising £25k for a local charity.
Three dream dinner guests?
Russell Brand as I love his use of the English language and I do think he’s very funny. Michael Palin, his travels and way of telling a story would have me enthralled for hours. I would like to stray from the realm of comedians for my last guest but I am unable, comedians are possibly the most important people in life. My last guest would be Stephen Fry, again his use of language is phenomenal and I just find him so funny.
Something not many of us know about you?
Not many people know that in a past job, I was given the task one day of looking after Bruce Jones (Les Battersby in Coronation Street), it wasn’t a pleasant day and I didn’t like him, there aren’t many people in life I don’t like, he was one of them.
Most treasured sporting possession?
My most treasured sporting possession has got to be my bike, I only have one but we have been through a lot together!
My favourite meal would be Red Snapper in Thai red curry with sticky rice and a large Singha beer, sat in my favourite bar Salad Hut on Haad Salad beach Koh Phangan, Thailand, a place I long to go back to with my wife and children, we spent our honeymoon there.