Friday, December 28, 2012

Wrenshall's Weik is biking toward the BIG time

Kevin Pates of the Duluth News Tribune wrote a great article about Josey on December 23, 2012. You can read it HERE


Josey Weik has watched the Oscar-nominated 1979 movie “Breaking Away” and, yes, he bears some traits of the cycling-devoted lead character, Dave Stroller, played by Dennis Christopher.
Stroller grew up in a small town and dreamed of riding professionally for an Italian cycling team.
Weik, 16, lives on a 16-acre organic vegetable farm in Wrenshall, is homeschooled, raises pigs and dreams of riding in the Tour de France.

He’s adept at mountain biking, road racing and cyclocross, a unique sport combining road biking and cross country running while carrying a bike. This week Weik is in Vorselaar, Belgium, for Eurocross Camp, a United States development program for elite cyclocross riders that began 10 years ago. He’s the youngest member of the 16-athlete contingent.

“I’m completely dedicated to cycling. It’s my passion. I can go for days just thinking about cycling,” Weik said recently while traveling to Bend, Ore., for a cyclocross competition.
In reality, he rarely has time to daydream.

Weik, an only child, is up at 7 a.m., does some stretching exercises, has breakfast, feeds the chickens on the family farm (named YKer Acres), waters and feeds his pigs (approximately 20), rides his bike, has recovery time, does school work and is in bed by 8:30 p.m. He’s able to train on family land or nearby on the Willard Munger State Trail.

His sophomore classes are split between his mother, Sara, who, for instance, teaches math, and his dad, Matt, who teaches physics. Four years ago Weik chose raising pigs to support his cycling.
“Josey has been very responsible from a young age,” says Matt Weik, who grew up in Brainerd, Minn., competed in Nordic skiing and attended Minnesota Duluth.

“He’s typical of a lot of endurance athletes — he’s dedicated, high achieving and has good athletic ability,” he added. “And he enjoys spending the time needed to train and get better.”

Watching televised coverage of the Tour de France got Weik to ask for a bike at age 7. He now owns three bikes worth about $4,500 each, has a coach based in Boulder, Colo., and enters 60-some races a year. He trains about 6,000 miles annually and receives some sponsorship from ISCorp, based in Mequon, Wis.
Cyclocross is his discipline of the moment, popularized in Europe, where crowds have reached 60,000, with races held in the fall and winter. Junior riders, Weik’s age, compete for 40 minutes on looped courses that have barriers, unrideable hills and stairs, and often muddy conditions and snow, requiring riders to dismount at certain points and carry their bikes on their shoulders (average bike weight is about 15 pounds). Riding speeds average from 16-22 mph.

Interest in the sport in the United States has more than tripled from 2005-11 to nearly 100,000 participants, according to USA Cycling, the sport’s official governing organization.

“Josey has amazing skills for his age,” says Jeanne Fleck, 47, of Proctor, one of Minnesota’s best female cyclocross riders. “He’s not afraid of anything. I’ve seen him crash in a race and get back up and chase the leaders down. He has a good blend of fit and fast. He’s going to be a force in the sport.”

Earlier this month, in the Minnesota Cyclocross Championships, opting to move up to the Pro 1-2 Category, Weik was fourth. A week later, on the road with his dad in the family’s 2008 Dodge Caravan for 1,800 miles to Bend, he placed sixth in the junior men’s division of the U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclocross.

Weik was selected for the 10-day Eurocross Camp in November and has since sought to raise $5,000 for the trip to Belgium, noted as the world’s cyclocross center. While there, he’ll train and race under the direction of coach Geoff Proctor.

“Cycling is something I’ve wanted to pursue, it’s healthy and an adventure, and my parents have allowed me to do this, and they give me time to be a teenager,” said Weik, who is 5-foot-7 and a lithe 109 pounds. “But I work to support myself. Raising pigs is my business and it requires a lot of energy, and it’s very rewarding.”
After returning from Europe, Weik’s schedule includes the U.S. Championships on Jan. 9-13 in Madison. The UCI Cyclocross World Championships, held outside Europe for the first time, are Feb. 2-3 in Louisville, Ky.

Fleck also will compete in both events.

To contribute to Josey Weik’s Eurocross Camp trip, go to his blog at He will tweet his experiences and results from Belgium the next 10 days at @bikerboy_weiker.

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