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Making An Impact

BOA Pioneer Payson McElveen
Mountain Bike Cross-Country Marathon Rider 
2017 US National Champion

 

 

 

  • cycling

A trailblazer at heart, pro endurance cyclist Payson McElveen is on a mission to leave an impact on the cycling community that extends far beyond his athletic achievements. 

 

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Payson McElveen Portrait

Payson McElveen is no stranger to breaking with convention. By his last year of college, Payson had a few minor cross-country successes under his belt but was decidedly unexcited about following the World Cup and Olympic trajectory that his peers were pursuing. It was during this time that Payson was invited to a 6-stage race across Mongolia – an opportunity that was a no-brainer. “I decided to spend nearly all my savings to make it to that race, which ended up not only being an amazing adventure and story, but also showed me that I was much more suited to that style of racing than the shorter XC races I was accustomed to. Going that route was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and set me on the path of where I am today.”

A Texas native, Payson relocated to Durango, Colorado in 2012 to position himself in the epicenter of endurance mountain biking where he spends a majority of his time training for races (20-30 hours weekly), often with other pro athletes in the area. “We’re all friendly, there’s no weird competitiveness. We’re just a bunch of friends that like to train together and make each other better.”

But don’t be fooled. The camaraderie Payson shares with his fellow competitors doesn’t negate a desire to win. In fact, it’s his ability to turn inward and risk it all that Payson says gives him his edge. “I’m a survivor. The rougher, gnarlier, and often longer an event goes, the better it is for me. I’m not always the most physically talented one in the group, but my ability to persevere is what sets me apart.”

Payson McElveen racing in Bentonville, Arkansas

”The rougher, gnarlier, and often longer an event goes, the better it is for me. I’m not always the most physically talented one in the group, but my ability to persevere is what sets me apart.”

Payson McElveen making a pit stop

And while Payson’s athletic achievements are notable, his impact on the cycling community is multi-faceted. In 2019, Payson started “The Adventure Stache,” a podcast (aptly named for his thirst for adventure and signature mustache) that features Payson hosting candid, unscripted conversations with pro athletes. The podcast, now remarkably popular, is just one item on a long bucket list of goals that Payson intends to tackle. “Anything with big payoff is likely going to require a lot of work, and there’s nothing about the future that’s better for chasing your goals. Do it now.”

So what’s next on that mile-long bucket list? Payson intends to discover the world by bike and trail. He just returned from a trip to Betonville, Arkansas, a city that in recent years, has transformed from relative obscurity into a premier mountain biking destination. Eager to uncover the passion behind the hype, Payson designed and took on a self-mandated “trail challenge,” riding through Bettonville’s 142 miles of terrain in a single day. These are the types of experiences that get Payson excited and inspire him to cut back on smaller race events to make more time for passion projects. 

Payson McElveen on a night ride

And while some might question an elite athlete’s decision to forgo a trophy for an adventure, these are the choices that make Payson a true trailblazer. “I’ve broken with tradition multiple times throughout my career, and while that’s sometimes been scary, there’s nothing scarier than the thought of playing it safe and having regrets.”

“Anything with big payoff is likely going to require a lot of work, and there’s nothing about the future that’s better for chasing your goals. Do it now.”

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Get the gear.

Bontrager XXX MTB

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Bontrager
XXX MTB

While on the trail, Payson dials in to Bontrager’s fastest and most advanced mountain shoe for a high-performance fit with zone-specific micro-adjustability.

Wolverine I-90 EXP BOA

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Wolverine
I-90 EPX BOA

The Wolverine I-90 EPX BOA provides a custom fit and durable protection and is Payson’s choice shoe for staying focused and secure during home improvement projects. 

Recoup Cryosleeve

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Recoup
Cryosleeve

Payson recovers from intense training sessions with the BOA-powered Recoup Cryosleeve, an innovative single-unit sleeve redefines cold therapy and recovery by combining 360° cooling and compression into one.