A Different Kind of Cycle

Posted: Nov 26, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2012 5:13 PM

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COLUMBIA -- Athletes don't really have "off seasons", and that includes cyclists. KOMU 8's Eric Blumberg shows us how an offseason sport has turned mainstream.

This is the view Josh Johnson has when racing his bike; he's done it for the last 20 years. "My parents think the seat was glued to me from the start. I started pedaling a bike at four and never stopped," says Johnson.

Now he's a cyclocross racer -- a hybrid of road racing and mountain biking. It's a way road racers can stay in shape in the winter. Johnson explains, "So, the idea is you race on and off road. You have obstacles that force you off the bike and that actually gets the blood moving in your feet when you run."

"Road cycling with fatter tires on an off road course that is usually over grass and mud and dirt, where you have to leap over barriers or traverse stairs or go over some kind of obstacle." Derek Fox is also a racer. He's a veterinary surgeon by day, and at 6-foot-5, he's a rarity on the bike. "Very rare. I'm not built for this... Which is why I'm not very good at it."

Which gives the spectators plenty of ammunition, along with the silly string. Fox says, "It really lends itself to people coming out and watching, and when people come out to watch they like to ring cow bells, drink a little beer and heckle us a bit."

There's always excitement watching the races... which take place on the front lawn of Johnson's office. "My boss is one of our owners and I was venting on trying to find a place to do this, and he offerend it up. So I didn't even have to ask." Derek Fox said, "Luckily Socket has been very generous letting us do this in our front yard, and the reason is because one of the best cyclocross racers in the state -- Josh Johnson -- works for Socket."

And what Johnson does on a bike is a thing of beauty. "I don't think it's too treacherous. You're in the front yard on the grass. What's the worse that could happen, right?" Nothing that will keep a cyclocrosse racer from getting back on the bike.

Josh Johnson will compete in the 2012 Missouri State Cyclocross Championships in Jefferson City on December 9th.

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