Payson McElveen

Crosscountry - @paysonmcelveen

Durango, CO

A native Texan, Payson McElveen relocated to Durango, CO in 2012 to simultaneously pursue an undergraduate education at collegiate cycling powerhouse Fort Lewis College, and his dream of being a professional mountain biker. Following graduation in 2016, his career began to take off, but not necessarily in the manner he'd expected. Rather than pursue the traditional route of XC that involves World Cup racing and Olympic aspirations, he gravitated towards longer events following a career-altering experience at the 6 day Mongolia Bike Challenge. A year later he won his first professional national title at the 2017 Marathon Championships, and a second title in 2018. This further spurred a commitment to longer events which were exploding in popularity alongside the rise of gravel racing. 

While his athletic achievements are notable, he strives to have a multi-faceted impact on the sport. Through his popular‚ The Adventure Stache - Podcast, films, and innovative physical challenges such as FKT‚ and his Trail Town ‘YouTube series, he hopes to inspire riders to think about the sport in new ways. While racing remains his first and greatest love on the bike, he hopes to have an impact that extends far outside the tape.

Ask Payson

If you could spend a day with any other SMITH athlete, who would it be and why?

Tough pick between Richie Rude and Joey Schusler. Richie, because it's just playing on bikes when you ride with him and he's so inspiring to watch on any kind of terrain. Joey because it probably means we're making something cool with a camera and he knows how to strike that perfect balance between work and play that makes for the coolest finished product.

What is your biggest fear or achilles heel? 

Running out of time. I have more ideas than hours in the day. Balancing everything bouncing around my head is a constant battle.

Would you rather be chased by a shark or a bear and why?

A bear, because I figure I'd have a bike with me, and any time that's the case I like my chances. 

What is your favorite SMITH product and why?

Network helmet because it's light, well-vented, and just has this sweet aesthetic that seems to work for any occasion. Ruckus glasses because they're super solid on the face no matter how wild a ride or race gets, and they come in a ton of sweet colors and lens options.

What are 5 things you can't leave home without?

Phone, a bike, Jordans, dope pair of Smith shades, anxiety about being late (I'm always late).

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Have more than 24 hours in a day.


  • 2x XC Marathon National Champion
  • 2018 Singlespeed World Champion
  • 2x The Mid-South Champion
  • 2x Leadville 100 podium

In Focus | Payson McElveen