Joanna Petterson is a South African-born rider who splits her time between winters in Hawaii, training sessions in CA, and racing the US and World Cup 4X and downhill circuits. Last season, Joanna found herself atop two World Cup podiums in Canada, and is looking to build on that success in 2010. In fact, Jo is one of the few riders who consistently races both disciplines at the World Cup level. As if that's not enough to set her apart from the crowd, she's as passionate about getting others involved in cycling as she is focused on her own professional career.--FF
Name: Joanna Petterson
Home: Kauai, Hawaii (born in South Africa)
Favorite type of riding: Bikes, of course! Downhill, 4x, jumping, road, XC, singlespeed, around town
Why you ride: I ride because it is a freeing experience. I love the wind on my skin, the speed, adrenaline, and the challenge. I love a good hillclimb on the road bike. I love to push myself and accomplish goals, and do things that I think are (near) impossible.
Sponsors: Fulcrum Wheels, Maxxis, Clif Bar, Smith Optics, ODI, Leatt, crankskins.com, Harlot
Website: (Coming soon!) JoannaPetterson.com
Are you a dreamer? I am. Every day I take myself from reality and attempt to reach my dream of being as great as I can be on a bike and then get even better. It is challenge to make the cycling life a reality. It is a full time job apart from the training needed to be elite. Racing is a lifestyle, from hotel, to plane, to car, to venue. I live my life out of a bag during the season and even in the off-season, making my various stops my home.
I left South Africa when I was 4, moved around a bit with my parents, and ended up on the amazing island of Kauai, HI. I returned to SA when I was 8 and then returned to Kauai when I was 13. I was a world-traveled child, and I guess that stuck with me. I haven't done much riding on Kauai because I'm usually trying to take a break and let my body heal when I am here. So, I spend my free time surfing. It is such an amazing sport that I don't even want to call it a sport, more like an amazing adventure every time I get in the ocean.
Recently, I surfed Hanalei Bay. We had some flooding this past week, the ocean is brown from the rivers and there are logs and sticks and even dead things that float into the ocean. On one hand it was terrifying to think what lurked beneath because there are sharks in the bay, crazy ones when the water is so murky, but on the other, the waves were so amazing! It was my best day of surfing since I got home.
The riding on Kauai is mysterious, wet most of the winter and hard to find. One of my favorite trails takes you through eucalyptus forests, down a red dirt smooth trail with drops and smooth natural berms, and around the rim of a canyon with the views of Niihau. That's when you stop and check the surf. If it's up, then you finish your ride and head to the waves. Kauai is an amazing place, and I'm hoping it returns somewhat to the agricultural roots it has. Move away from tourism a bit and start to be self-sustaining. I'm working on that with my family when I am home, and when I retire from racing it will be a huge part of my life. Providing a resource for food is such a valuable asset in the long run.
A little more relative to cycling, though, I aim to start a BMX track on the island, to provide a place for kids that's free of drugs and negative influence, that is healthy, and could one day lead them to the Olympics. I can't wait to start this project! In 2010 I am also producing a movie with a few other people. It is a hugely exciting project for me, one that I have wanted to do for a few years. It is going to be a women's race/ride film and we are going to highlight the best of women's riding.
My biggest riding accomplishments would have to be unaccomplished, so far! Winning the 2006 NORBA 4X Series Championship was a good time. This season, my 3rd in 4x at the Mont Ste Anne and 4th in Bromont World Cup races where both great. But, I'm not super happy with the season. I placed 10th at the World Championships in Canberra, which was a good show but not my best. I'm aiming for much more in 2010 as far as my racing goes.
Racing and competition in general have always been a part of me. It's a huge part of my personality that I can't deny. I just want to be the best I can be, and truthfully, I want to be better than every other racer out there. But so do they. So we just keep pushing each other and it's great. I love racing. I dedicated my life to it after my first race and have been pursuing this dream ever since for the last ten years.
I enjoy meeting new people to ride (or surf) with wherever I am so if anyone wants to ride don't hesitate to get in touch and we can go enjoy this amazing sport. The more the merrier!