When Kathy Johnson was a kid in Florida (in the 60’s & 70’s) her bike took her everywhere. To school/softball/volleyball, fishing in a nearby pond, to the Gulf of Mexico. She begged for a 10-speed and earned half the money for a Sears Free Spirit – what a great name! It was gold and she loved it, until she taco’d the front end in college. It’s replacement was a royal blue Bianchi touring bike, which started a love affair with old Euro-brand bikes.
She had zero exposure to bike racing until the faintest of TV coverage of Greg LeMond’s success in the Tour de France. It didn’t even occur to her that he had to have started somewhere. It wasn’t until sh started training for sprint triathlons in Clermont, FL, that one of her talented friends invited her on group rides. She had a road bike with clip-on aerobars so she could ride safely in a group. There still were no pure bike races at that time, but the seed was planted in the 1990’s and was nurtured by watching le Tour and other races ever year since. Kathy claims she was so bad at running thateventually she just focused on cycling, but it was not until 2005 that she entered her first bike race in Colorado.
In 2011 Pete Webber taught Kathy the Six P’s of Prepardness: “Proper preparedness prevents piss-poor performance” and she learned what it really means to practice those “Six P’s”. She had been slogging along, mid-pack or worse, at every road race in Colorado, but ever so gradually improving in time-trials, and every race practicing & refining those Six P’s. Then it was ‘Cross camp with Alison Powers and others, and a final road time-trial which was also a State Championship and UCI Masters World’s qualifier. She had zero expectations; other than to keep improving and practicing the right things. For the first time, it all came together in Colorado and Kathy made her first podium, a bronze medal. This meant she had just qualified for World Championships in Belgium one month away!
In 2016, Kathy relocated to Kansas and began looking for a local team to join. She joined Women’s Free State just in time for Cross Season that year, in fact her first official “skittle stint” was to step in on incredibly short notice and completely run the first of the team’s three “Joules Cross Practice” sessions in September. Kathy showed up with her PVC Pipe barriers and gave a masterful class on mounting and dismounting!