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Middle Schooler Bikes His Way to Eight National Titles

Apr 07, 2016 04:55PM ● Published by Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals

South Jordan - At the age of 14, Joey Foresta is as fast at mountain biking as most professionals, Mike Kelley, Joey’s coach, said. 

Joey has won eight national titles, and hasn’t lost a race in two years. He’s the fastest amateur racer in the country, according to Steve Spencer, Joey’s sponsor.

Joey’s biking career began early. He rode a bike without training wheels at the age of 3 and started racing BMX at the age of 4, Steve Foresta, Joey’s dad, said. 

Most kids don’t begin mountain biking training until they are about 15 years old, Kelley said, but when Kelley’s son Cody, Joey’s best friend and role model, began to focus more on mountain biking than BMX, Joey switched his focus too. 

Joey was 8 years old at the time — seven years younger and less trained than Cody.

“It was amazing to see Joey be able to keep up with my boy at a really young age. We really had to slow him down,” Kelley said. “We wanted him to be that fast — we just didn’t want him to be that fast yet, because we didn’t want him to wreck.” 

Joey said he’s wrecked plenty of times, but Kelley said that even so, he’s crashed fewer times than anyone he’s ever coached or met before. 

Foresta said his son’s coordination on a mountain bike is unbelievable.

“Honestly Joey is just gifted when it comes to biking,” Foresta said. “He’s not really good at other sports. He’ll walk up the stairs and get hurt, but when he’s on his bike, I’m not worried. He has those skills.” 

Joey competes in two areas of mountain biking — downhill and dual slalom. In downhill, each participant races down the same track one at a time. The bikers’ times are tracked, and the person with the shortest time wins. 

In dual slalom, two bikers simultaneously race two different tracks that are parallel to each other, and the racer who reaches the bottom first wins. 

These two categories of mountain biking are Joey’s favorite because they allow him to go fast, and speed is his specialty.

“It’s a really crazy feeling, especially on trails where trees are close together,” Joey said. “It’s awesome when you are just inches past the trees.” 

Dual slalom is a great fit for Joey given his BMX background because he’s used to racing next to his competition. Joey said mountain biking differs from BMX because it requires more strategy, whereas BMX is all about going as fast as you can. 

“A lot of it, when you are going over rocks, is trying to stay light on your bike and not slam into the rocks,” Joey said. “A lot of it, too, is finding the balance between going too fast and going a good speed.”

Joey said his favorite race was one of the national championship races in North Carolina because it was pouring rain the whole trip. He said it changed the terrain, giving him the type of riding experience he’d never had before. 

Joey, a freshman at South Jordan Middle school, said he doesn’t have time for any extracurricular activities with the school because of his biking schedule, but he said he doesn’t mind that too much. 

He and his sister, Sophia Foresta, train with a personal trainer on most nights of the week. Joey said it’s great to have something he and his sister can do together. Both siblings excel in their chosen sports. Sophia, 16, is a two-time national champion BMX racer.

“They have their moments of teasing and punching, but I am very surprised at how they do interact and support each other,” Spencer said about the Foresta siblings. “They are honestly so happy for one another when one does something outstanding. It’s neat to see.” 

Joey said his sister is one of his biggest supporters.

“It’s really a family thing,” Joey said. “I couldn’t do this without them.”  

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