Max Houtzager, a teen cycling sensation from the Bay Area, has traveled the globe doing what he does best—cycling. While many may view riding a bike as a nice workout or a leisurely activity, Max takes his cycling to the next level by racing in competitions nationwide and internationally. Currently, Max is training for his first season as an under 23 (U23) pro, and has high hopes and a bright future in the sport. Max recently wrote about Rise Bar in his latest blog post – check it out here!
Rise Bar (RB) – When did you start riding? Who introduced you to cycling?
Max Houtzager (MH) – I started riding in middle school, just cruising around town with friends, jumping stair sets and building little jumps. I finally got into riding downhill trails and racing, and joined the high school cross-country racing league, which regimented things and sucked me deeper into the realm of endurance mountain biking.
RB – What do you feel is your biggest cycling accomplishment?
MH – Winning the Downieville Classic Cross Country three years in a row, because I definitely put a ton of time, energy, and attention into preparing for that race. Not only is it one of the most fun races ever (whether you win or not), you can really watch your progression from year to year.
RB – Where is your favorite place to compete?
MH – That’s a tough one. Mountain biking brings you to so many great places and I’m fortunate to have been to quite a few. I’d have to say Switzerland and Germany because of the epic terrain, phenomenal course work and amazing culture. The community is really into cycling, so there are tons of crazy spectators who support the races.
RB – What are your goals for the next year?
MH – I want to step into the professional field and finish respectably in the Pro XC (Cross Country) Races (U.S. National Series). I also want to finish in the top 10 at nationals in the U23 field, and top 10 overall in the newly-established North American Enduro Tour.
RB – What upcoming competitions are you competing in?
MH – It’s all base miles right now but in the new year, I’m looking forward to racing National XC Mountain Bike Races in New Zealand!
RB – How many bikes do you own?
MH – Six. One for every discipline worth having: XC, All Mountain, Downhill, Dirt Jump, Single Speed XC and Road.
RB – What are your eating habits? Do you stick to a certain diet while you’re training?
MH – I’ve tried a lot of different trends out there; no meat, no dairy, no gluten, etc. Now I focus on eating a balanced variety of only whole foods, with emphasis on grass-fed and pastured animal protein sources when possible. I avoid gluten at all costs but also unfermented dairy, and don’t usually eat grains or legumes.
RB – What about Rise Bars appealed to you?
MH – I appreciated the short ingredient list of whole foods that are balanced in a way that provides enough carbs, fat and protein to easily digest while riding. There’s also minimal fructose for sweetness which is a plus, and not too much (or too little) sugar.
RB – What is your favorite Rise Bar flavor?
MH – I really like Cherry Almond because that flavor combo is just too classic – you can’t go wrong!