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CSU student selected to bike race across Russia

Matthew Carnal, a Colorado State University graduate student in the health and exercise science department, has been invited to compete in the third annual Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme bike race set to start in mid-July.

The Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme is the longest bicycle race in the world as a number of international cyclists race over 5,700 miles. The cyclists will compete in 14 stages over 24 days.

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Carnal said he had mixed emotions after finding out he had been invited to participate.

“I was excited, yet I was a little afraid,” Carnal said. “I mean, 5700 miles in 24 days with one rest day … it was kind of mixed emotions. Not to mention the daunting task of trying to raise the funds to go.”

Matt Carnal changes out the chain on his bike at the Spoke. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Carnal must raise $20,000 to pay his entry fee, of which $10,000 must be paid by Jan. 31. He has currently raised $3,030 according to his GoFundMe fundraiser page. Additional money Carnal raises will go towards purchasing bicycles for kids, according to CSU Source.

Carnal was invited after submitting an application to the race director of the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme. Carnal said he told the race director his athletic curriculum vitae was not impressive because he had not competed in many races, but he thought he could compete for the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme since he biked across the United States. He hopes to be first American to complete.

“I’ve ridden across the country twice, and the second time I did it in kind of a hurry on a fixed gear,” Carnal said. “It’s 1,200 miles short of what this event’s going to be, so I threw all that together on my CV and turned it in.”

On December 10, Carnal received an email that he was on the start list.

Carnal, who turned to cycling to help him through depression, said the opportunity to go would inspire others to pursue their dreams.

“(Cycling) is what I love to do,” Carnal said. “We always tell kids to follow their dreams and their passions. Yeah, I’m not a kid, I’m 37, but let’s face it. When people age or when they’re told to grow up, they don’t want to grow up. They want to be a kid, so I like to look at the world through kid’s eyes but surrounded with adult practices. (Competing in the race) to me, it would inspire a lot of people. That’s why I put my CV in.”

Carnal said the opportunity to race in the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme would be a new adventure for him.

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“I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff at this point that got me into this event,” Carnal said.I’m just hoping I’m going to be durable enough and I hope I’m efficient enough to allow for the durability to hold together enough over 5700 miles. Anything could happen.”

Carnal is currently training for five to seven hours a day to prepare because he intends to complete the race.

“If the opportunity doesn’t present itself (to race), that’s okay,” Carnal said. “However, considering I’m on the starting list right now, (I) might as well take advantage of the opportunity and see what I can do.”

Carnal said he would be the first American to finish the race, and it means a lot to him.

“It’s going to take a strong support person to pull me out of this event,” Carnal said.

The Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme begins July 18, 2017 in Moscow, Russia and concludes in Vladivostok, Russia on August 10, 2017.

Collegian reporter Haley Candelario can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.

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