The Official Website of Grand Canyon University Club Sports.

Grand Canyon University Club Sports

GCU Club Triathlon’s Co-Coach Matthew Johnson’s Busy Summer

July 28, 2021

2nd year Lopes’ Coach gains valuable cycling experience

By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

Experience becomes knowledge.

Lucky for the Grand Canyon University Triathlon team, Lopes’ Co-Coach Matthew Johnson has spent his summer developing new skills.

Johnson joined the Velo Ambassador (Cycling) Team this past January and competed in cycling events throughout the summer.

The Velo team rides together three to four times a week. Some days consist of group rides, while others involve more of a mock race setup.

“In practice, we get our intensity up, we hit our intervals, and try to find our limits,” said Johnson. “If you don’t test your limits, you won’t know how hard you can push yourself during a real race.”

Johnson and his team used their training for two races this summer:  the Tour de Murrieta and the Salt Lake Criterium.

At the Salt Lake Criterium, the team had their best finish of the summer, sweeping the podium awards.

“We worked well together as a team,” said Johnson. “We had this heavy presence and maintained control throughout the entire race.”

Johnson had to fight his way back from a near collision, which happened as he entered his final lap separating him from his teammates. In a full sprint, Johnson would climb all the way back up to finish in 14th out of 60 riders.

“Although I was unable to finish with the team, I was happy I could help them get to that point,” said Johnson. “My team is filled with lots of experienced racers, and I learned a lot from them.”

Pushing himself throughout this offseason has given Johnson a surplus of knowledge he is looking to translate into his coaching this year with the GCU Triathlon team.

“I have learned so much about racing itself this summer,” said Johnson. “I will bring over to Club Triathlon some of the training techniques we have learned for cycling to help our athletes reach a higher level.”

Johnson is already looking forward to next spring to practicing and competing with the Velo team again – once his Lopes’ season is over.

“There is always a bigger fish out there,” said Johnson. “Seeing these professional athletes at these past races shows me how much room I have to get better.”

Interested in learning more about the GCU Club Triathlon team? Click here!

Follow us on Twitter or Instagram to stay connected!