Monique "Pua" Mata is returning to her roots with Team Sho-Air. The endurance mountain bike racer signed to race with her old team and in her new role, she will also lead club team rides, participate in training camps for riders ranging from the beginner to the expert level, and make appearances and speaking engagements.
Reflecting on her return to Team Sho-Air, Mata said, "It's now come full circle. I had a tough year last year and coming back to Team Sho-Air is like pressing the reset button for me."
Pua will concentrate her racing on the newly established US Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET). Her debut will come this weekend at the first Pro UET in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she will race the Spa City Extreme 6-hour race with her Team Sho-Air teammate Manuel "Manny" Prado. Both are racing in the solo division.
"Scott Tedro signed me to my first pro deal and he has consistently been there for me over the years, and it feels great to come home," said Mata. "I get to return to my true passion and concentrate on endurance based racing, and I know with the backing that I will get from my teammates at Team Sho-Air, I will be back on the podium and having a great time doing so."
"I am also looking forward to racing on my new Specialized S-Works Epic 29er, I had never ridden a 29er bike before until now and after just one ride, I was hooked, I expect big things this year, but mostly I am happy to be with a team that supports me both on and off the bike, and I am excited to race for the first time in a long time."
Team Sho-Air founder Tedro said, "Pua is a first class person and a very talented rider, and I am very pleased that she will be riding with us again this year. Over the past several years, we concentrated (the team) on pro cross country racing and we are now turning our focus to pro-based endurance racing. I believe with Pua Mata and Manny Prado, we have two of the best to represent us both on and off the track."
Mata was the 24-hour solo US national champion in 2007 and 2008. She also won the National Ultra Endurance Series in 2007. She also finished seventh at the 2009 marathon Worlds. In 2010, she topped the Breck Epic mountain bike stage race classification.