Cross-Country Cyclist John Zacek

During the warmer months residents of Door County are able to take advantage of the many bike trails and back roads that are set against a beautiful backdrop, but the winter provides a bit of an challenge for those looking to stay active or train for upcoming races and rides.

John Zacek of Sister Bay, however, has found a way around this obstacle. He heads to Nor Door Sport & Cyclery’s Studio three to five times a week from November through March to stay fit with their power-based indoor cycling classes.

Laura Goetzke caught up with Zacek to see how his off-season training went and what his plans are for the cycling season ahead…including finishing a cross-country bike adventure.

How did Door County become the place that you now call home?

Before moving to the county in 2000, I worked as an arborist for Milwaukee County for four years and then as a logging contractor in Northern Wisconsin for 10 years. Looking for a place to establish a family business, we found Door County to be a good fit with our love of the outdoors – and we liked that it was a progressive, unique area. Initially we purchased the Coachlite Inn but currently own the Open Hearth Lodge in Sister Bay.

When did you first become interested in cycling?

Soon after moving to Door County, I ran the Green Bay Marathon, but because of the stress on my knees, I turned to cycling.

What do you enjoy the most about the classes you take in the off-season?

I like being able to measure my progress and get in shape for when I can ride on the roads again.

What do you find the most challenging during class?

The most challenging aspect is keeping the wattage numbers up and the times that one spends in each zone. We are tested every six weeks so you’re always challenged by the personal goals you set for yourself.

How have the classes helped you prepare for the Ride for Nature?

The Ride for Nature is still early in the bicycling season, so the classes allow me to ride it faster and with more confidence.

Describe your training outside of these classes?

I do a little weightlifting throughout the year and walk my Great Pyrenees dog, Kilo. Also, I began my own cross-country bike adventure. Each year I’ve taken one week to bike 450 – 600 miles. The adventure began in San Diego, CA and will end this year in November as I reach the Atlantic Ocean by crossing the Southern Tier of the United States.

Any favorite bike routes in Door County?

Any circle route that puts me in Peninsula State Park.

What distance do you plan on doing in this year’s Ride for Nature?

The Century Ride – I hope to do four century rides this summer. The Ride for Nature will be my second.