National championship top achievement for Columbia cyclist

Saturday, August 14, 2010 | 8:13 p.m. CDT
After a 200-meter sprint, Columbia cyclist David Henderson, top, beat California’s Dan Martin by the closest of margins to win the 2010 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships on Aug. 7 in Louisville, Ky.

COLUMBIA — For David Henderson, reaching his ultimate goal came down to 200 meters. 

After a mad dash to the finish line, Henderson, a Columbia resident, beat California’s Dan Martin in a photo finish win in the 2010 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships on Aug. 7 in Louisville, Ky. The victory in the division for men ages 40 to 44 means Henderson can now call himself a national champion an achievement he has worked toward his entire cycling career.

“Winning that championship was my main goal,” Henderson said. “Now the goal is to just have fun and focus on the social side of biking rather than the competitive side."

Henderson, 42, started to turn his hobby of 22 years into a more social venture earlier this year when he created a blog devoted to documenting his races in high definition video. The blog's goal is simple – capture the world from a bicycle.

Although Henderson initially started the blog hoping to gain sponsorships, he now sees it as a creative and informative outlet that biking enthusiasts can use as a resource.

Before each race, Henderson straps two GoPro HD Hero cameras to his bike, one underneath his handlebars and one above the back tire. After races, he spends several hours editing the video before putting it on his blog. The result is a video created with two vantage points, giving the viewer a unique visual perspective into each bike race.

In addition to race recaps and the accompanying videos, Henderson writes instructive how-to guides ranging from “How to treat road rash,” to “How to glue on a tubular bicycle tire.” He was inspired by his blog readers to start incorporating the how-to guides.

"New racers were asking me a ton of questions, which kind of sparked my interest in helping them out with specific blog entries," he said. Earlier in the year, Henderson wrote an entry entitled "Do this and you will win."

"I had someone tell me they took my advice from the blog and they actually won their first race," he said.

Born and raised in Farmington, Henderson was not exposed to competitive cycling until he joined the Navy in 1988.

“One of my friends in the Navy was doing it and it seemed like a really fun thing to do,” he said.

While in the Navy, Henderson began to race whenever he had free time at his base in Virginia.

“It was a bit sporadic because of my ship duties. I wasn’t able to get full seasons,” he said.

He decided it would be best to move to Miami after his time in the Navy to pursue competitive biking, recognizing southern Florida’s ideal weather conditions. He was able to train during the winter months but another roadblock still stood in his way.

“Miami turned out to be a pretty bad spot,” he explained. “It is so isolated and I wasn’t able to make it out to very many races.”

This realization, combined with Henderson’s desire to get a college degree, led him to come to Columbia in the fall of 1992 and ended up majoring in psychology at MU.

During this time he was competing with the Mizzou Cycling team and was a member of Columbia Bicycle Club.

Two years into his degree, he realized his first priority was to become a professional cyclist, and he left college to train in Katy, Texas.

“I wanted to get a lot more serious about racing, and I had intentions to become a professional. I just wanted to see how far I could go with it,” he said.

He trained through the winter and spring of 1994, then decided to come back to Columbia the following summer to complete his degree. Almost immediately after returning, he won the 1995 Missouri State Road Race, clinching a position as a Category 1 racer – the highest level for amateurs. Although he never reached the professional level, he continued to race in Category 1 events for the next few years.

After taking a break in 2002 to focus more on his recently born children, Henderson hopped back on his bike in 2008 with hopes of achieving his career-long goal of becoming a national champion.

“I knew him, and I knew how competitive he was in his early years when he first started at Columbia Cycling Club,” said Columbia Bicycle Club president Raymond Sapp. “But it’s strange. I think once he came back from his break, he was much more competitive and committed.”

With his goal accomplished, Henderson sees a future with his blog. He will continue creating his one-of-a-kind race videos and useful how-to guides, but he now has plans to incorporate other cyclists in his blog too.

"I'd love to start doing video interviews with my biking friends," he said. "I've gotten a ton of great feedback and positive response with the blog so far, and I'd like to keep it up."

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