Friday, November 18, 2011

Matthes inducted into U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame

Local biking legend honored in California

Local bicycling legend Ruthie Matthes was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the University of California-Davis.

The Ketchum native acquired the honor with a career that was second to none, accumulating the 1991 World Mountain Bike Championship, the Grundig Mountain Bike World Cup crown in 1992, five national cross-country titles and five World Championship medals.

More than 300 bicycling fans and enthusiasts watched the honor go to Matthes as well as mountain-biking originator Mike Sinyard, track maven Marty Nothstein and the late Bobby Walthour Jr.

Matthes, whose career began in 1983, owned the women's biking world for the majority of the 1980s and '90s, winning national titles in three disciplines—criterium, team time trials and road racing. Matthes was a part of what many consider the best women's mountain bike field in history, which featured Juli Furtado, Paola Pezzo, Alison Sydor and Susan DeMattei.

Matthes, however, stood out among the best as she continually found herself on top of the podiums and winning almost every possible award or championship.

Some of her bigger feats were winning the 1991 World Mountain Bike Championship and 1992 Grundig Mountain Bike World Cup championship. She received silver medals in the 1993 Grundig Mountain Bike World Cup and the World Mountain Bike Championship in 1996. She also got the bronze medal in 1997 in the U.S. National Cyclocross Championship. In 2000, Matthes place 10th in the Sydney Olympics in Mountain Biking.

Spanning a 19-year career, Matthes was influential in helping awareness and increasing the competitive level of women's cycling.

Matthes has also been known as world champion, national champion and Olympian. She remains involved with USA Cycling, acting as a spokeswoman, and as an advocate for Focus Bicycles USA, which uses her knowledge to further the cause of bicycle awareness, trail advocacy and the entire biking experience.

Matthes now lives in Colorado.

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