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Working for the team-Joe Webster/Anesthesiologist, Northside Anesthesia Services LLC, VQ Labs Client

Getting to know Joe

A baseball and basketball player growing up, Joe Webster switched to cycling after dealing with six shoulder surgeries from chronic dislocations and two torn ACL repairs. He’s been racing crits and track races for about two decades now, and currently rides for Texas Roadhouse. Although COVID-19 put a hold on racing, Joe has come out of the pandemic strong, thanks in part to working with Indianapolis-based VQ Labs, which he says gave his performance a solid boost.

Originally from Fort Wayne, Joe earned his undergraduate degree from DePauw University and his medical degree at Indiana University before completing an anesthesiology residency with the University of Michigan. He’s been practicing with Northside Anesthesiology Services since 1998.

How did you get into crit racing, and what do you enjoy most about it?

When he first started cycling seriously, Joe did road, track and crit races. Finding himself at a disadvantage on the road because he’s bigger than most road racers, he shifted his focus to the track and crits, which were better suited to his size. He also simply enjoyed the nature of the racing: “You put your head down and go for it,” he said.

As time has passed, Joe has become less concerned about his personal results and more excited by what he can do for his team. In fact, he said, if he finds himself in a risky situation with his own finishing position on the line, he might back off rather than risking a crash. But if the team’s position is at stake and he can contribute by pushing his limits, he’ll take a risk or two. Of course, he’d rather not leave any skin on the pavement at all. “If I can help the team win and not lay in the street, that’s even better,” he said.

“I’ve always preferred crit over anything.” – Joe Webster

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your racing?

In the months before the pandemic, Joe had been thinking about retiring from racing and riding simply for recreation. In fact, he was already winding down when everything came to a halt. What he didn’t anticipate is that the forced time away from racing would re-energize him. He came out of the pandemic more enthusiastic about racing than he had been for some time, and with a renewed commitment to doing his best for his team. Of course, he also didn’t anticipate contracting COVID-19, which took him off the bike for a while and left him about 15 lbs. lighter than before. While he’s tried to regain some of the weight, he has found a benefit to being lighter: He now enjoys road cycling more.

“That year off with COVID pretty much gave me a rejuvenation. It gave me the break I didn’t know I wanted.” – Joe Webster

Why do you think Indy has such a vibrant cycling scene?

As with so many things, Indy’s central location makes it accessible to cyclists from far and wide, Joe said, but he also credits the Major Taylor Velodrome with being a big part of Indy’s cycling appeal, because it draws so many talented cyclists and high-level races. He also pointed to local cycling events – like IU Health Momentum Indy – and how well they are organized. At the same time, the city has a high level of cycling talent and a strong cycling community. Finally, while the area’s flat terrain is often seen as a negative, many cyclists like it because it leads to faster times.

“Just like it’s able to market itself for hosting events and conventions, Indianapolis is the crossroads for cyclists from so many big cities.”– Joe Webster

What’s special about the IU Health Momentum Indy weekend?

Joe said the IU Health Momentum Indy weekend is special for all types of cyclists because there are two strong cycling competitions plus a great fun ride in the Honor Major Taylor ride. Racers appreciate the high level of competition and the opportunity to race so much in one weekend. It all comes together in a weekend with something for everyone, he said, including two very different vibes in the Mass Ave. Crit and Indy Crit.

“The Indy Crit is more of a family thing … whereas with Mass Ave. everybody is out there with their cocktails and the late-night crowd.”” – Joe Webster

You train with VQ Labs. What has that done for you?

Joe has known Jeremy Wilson, lab director for VQ Labs for some time, and has long been impressed by Wilson’s growth as a cyclist, but he’s also seen what VQ Labs has done for other riders. So he decided to give it a try last year. After one season, he already has seen solid results, a product he says of a very structured, data-driven program that looks at more than the usual numbers to make sure a cyclist is integrating all the potential facets of a training program.

“Guys I race with and ride with and compare myself with who train with VQ Labs have all thought their testing and program are the main reasons they’ve had such great increases.” – Joe Webster

Closing Thoughts

“Indianapolis has some extremely talented racers and riders.” – Joe Webster

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