The Rider

June 11, 2010

Focusing in on Pelotonia

Filed under: Photos, Rider Profiles — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

What the heck, let’s take a trip to Ohio and ride in this Pelotonia thing.

This was pretty much how Matt Mendelsohn became a rider. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area – and had recently decided it was time to get back into shape and shake the cobwebs off his well-rested bike.

At the same time, a friend sent a link to the Pelotonia website. Matt read it, decided it sounded good … and signed up along with his friend, Robert Giroux.

Here's Matt during a ride around the nation's capitol

“It all just seemed perfectly random,” said Matt, a long-time photojournalist. “I thought I could help a good cause and my own health. I used to do a lot of charity bike races, but that was 10 years and about 60 pounds ago.”

Pelotonia is yet another interesting chapter in Matt’s life. He was a photographer for UPI and USA Today and recently went the freelance route, specializing in weddings.

He has shot more sporting events than he can count, was a White House photographer, covered the first Gulf War and the Rodney King story.

“I’d say the most important thing I ever covered was being at the White House the day Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat shook hands with a beaming Bill Clinton,” Matt said of the 1993 event. “Some things you shoot and afterwards think they’re important. I could tell this was historic as it was happening.”

And here he is in action as a war correspondent

But the coolest thing he ever shot was deep in the bowels of an Egyptian tomb. It was 1996 and …

“There was a newly discovered tomb in the Valley of the Kings and I was down there, crawling around just like in an Indiana Jones movie. It was 120 degrees and we were in the tomb, with a torch, seeing the statue of Isis and nobody had been in there in thousands of years.”

So, if you’d like to hand off your camera during Pelotonia so some kind stranger can take a shot of you with a loved one or fellow rider … Matt’s your man!

Matt does have a couple of Ohio connections. His assistant is from Defiance – and he has become friends recently with Connie Schultz, a columnist with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And he did shoot Evander Holyfield beating the stuffing out of local hero Buster Douglas.

But the whole randomness of coming to Central Ohio for Pelotonia seems to appeal to his adventurous nature.

Any excuse to include a shot of Jen is a good one! Matt took this.

He also took this shot of local hero Buster Douglas getting beaten by Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title

Matt is also riding in memory and honor of two close friends who lost their battle with cancer: grade-school buddy David Fischer, and USA Today reporter Cathy Hainer.

“It all just seemed to fit and feel right,” he said of the decision to ride Pelotonia. “Something had to be done, so we decided to make a weekend out of it, drive to Ohio and be part of it.”

Here the link to Matt’s website.

10 Things about Matt…

Favorite ride


Dream ride

Cross-country, USA

Current bike

Bianchi Veloce

Dream bike

I’m happy with what I have

Favorite movie

Local Heroes

I don't know how Matt got this shot, or even if we're allowed to run it! Don't tell anyone.

Favorite TV show

Kitchen Nightmares with Gordan Ramsey

Favorite book

Look Homeward, Angel

Favorite musician/group


Favorite athlete


Favorite post-ride meal

Big bowl of pasta


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