The stories he told me scared the pants off me. From leaving school at 16 for a career as a road cyclist to team housing situations that hinted at human rights violations, he opened my eyes to the real world of amateur cycling. He cooked his meals in bulk, made his own greeting cards, could change gear cable in under 2 minutes, and was always willing to give me a push if I fell off the back of a boys ride. He also deeply loved Nutella.
I lived with Matt Green for one incredibly rainy season in Holland. We lived in an old YMCA building complete with two floors of tiny rooms, communal bathrooms and a commercial kitchen. The oven was either on or off, Edward and I shared a single bed, and someone–despite a witch hunt–peed in the shower every night. When my father came to visit, he took one look at the living situation and simply said “don’t tell your mother.” It wasn’t ideal but through the experience we all became family.
Our interesting living situation combined with one of the more challenging years of my life made for deep bonds. Matt was younger than me but he felt like an older brother. Athletes always talk about sacrifice but Matt showed me it wasn’t really about sacrifice, it was simply about making choices. He had that balance all athletes strive for between obsessing over watts/kilo and just saying “f*ck it”.
Five years later, we’re housemates once more. He’s survived a near fatal crash, met the love of his life, built a successful coaching company, and has gone back to school. Oh, and he still races professionally. He had changed incredibly but, despite the fancier team kit and a much, much nicer house, it could be Holland. That’s the thing about genuine friends, you can grow away from each other without growing apart.
Nutella (Training) Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free, Matt Green Approved)
Every race morning Matt would be in our commercial-sized kitchen with a loaf of sliced white bread and a bulk-sized jar of Nutella, making sandwiches on top of the freezer. The key moment was when he had finished making the last sandwich and, with the joy of a six year old, proceed to lick the knife clean. He doesn’t eat white bread Nutella sandwiches anymore but I adapted my normal training cookie recipe with that moment in mind.
Makes 20 standard-sized cookies. These are yummy as cookies but they are a nice treat on a long bike ride too.
- 1/2 cup almond milk, separated
- 2 tbs flaxseed meal
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (200g)
- 6 tablespoons of cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 banana
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups of quick oats (GF if necessary)
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (GF if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F and line or grease a standard baking tray.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl bowl, stir flaxseed meal and 1/4 cup of almond milk together. Add vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a food processor or blender, pulse hazelnuts into slightly moist but not wet crumb crumb. It’s ok if there are a few big chunks left. Add hazelnut crumb to the mixing bowl along with cocoa and salt. Mix until combined.
4. Blend the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and the banana in the blender until smooth. Add to the mixing bowl.
5. Stir in the sugar and then all the oats. Finally, add the chia seeds or other stir-in of your choice (sunflower seeds, chopped hazelnuts, etc.).
5. With damp hands, roll small handfuls (or slightly bigger for training size) into balls and then press down on a tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat with the palm of your hand. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. These don’t spread much at all so you can place them quite close together. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are browned and tops are dry and starting to crisp. They will continue to crisp when they cool. Store in an air tight container.
Digging on Matt? Check out this interview about his horrific crash and how he has come back to race professionally.