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Fouche pedals to the top of his sport

Former Boonsboro soccer player is now an elite bicycle racer

August 18, 2010|By ANDREW MASON
  • Brian Fouche, right, of Hagerstown, competes earlier this year in the Wilmington (Del.) Grand Prix men's pro 35-mile criterium -- a USA Cycling National Race Calendar Series event. Fouche, 27, rides for the Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team.
Submitted photo,

Brian Fouche stands only 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs a mere 130 pounds.

But give him two wheels, and the 27-year-old Hagerstown man can land the punch of a giant.

"He can put a serious hurting on you on a bicycle," said Scotty Gordon, the owner of River City Cycles in Williamsport. "That's for sure."

Few can match Fouche's strength in the sport of cycling.

He is one of only a handful of Category 1 riders in Maryland, and is believed to be Washington County's first.

If this were pro baseball, Fouche, a 2001 Boonsboro High School graduate, would be playing at the Triple-A level.

"Basically, when you're a Category 1 cyclist, it means you can do any professional races in the U.S.," said Fouche, who has competed in many of them over the years, most recently as a member of the Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team.

He said he competes in about 15 to 20 road races a year, along with another five to 10 cyclocross (an off-road form of bicycle racing) events.

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Fouche, who works at the U.S. Census Bureau in Hagerstown, consistently logs hundreds of miles each week in training.

It all began with high school soccer.

"I started cycling between my junior and senior year because I really wasn't into running, and I needed something to get me into shape for soccer," said Fouche, who was a two-year varsity starter at Boonsboro. "Then I went to college, I had a bike, and I started riding a little more and got into it. And then I got introduced to racing my sophomore year.

"I did a few races and was hooked. I started racing more and more and just moved up through the ranks."

The dream was to be a full-time pro racer.

"When I came out of college it was," said Fouche, a 2005 St. Mary's College of Maryland graduate. "I traveled around a bunch and did a bunch of big pro races. And then I sort of realized that, in the U.S., it's just not there. It's very hard to make a living.

"If I do really well in a race, I might win $100."

He said one of the highlights of his career is placing second last year at the extremely competitive Turkey Hill Country Classic -- a hilly 80-mile road race in the Lancaster, Pa., area. For that, he won $250.

But Fouche, obviously, isn't in it for the money.

"He just loves the sport, loves the competition," said Gordon, a friend and fellow rider. "And the guy is crazy. It will be 30 degrees and raining, and he'll be out riding in it.

"The immense talent this guy also displays is just incredible. He's probably the strongest and best all-around cyclist we've ever seen in this county."

Fouche also might be the best local athlete you'd never heard of.

"Cycling is kind of like an underground sport in the U.S.," Fouche said. "You go up to somebody and ask them to name two professional cyclists, they'll tell you Lance Armstrong and they're not going to be able to tell you anyone else."

As for Fouche's future, it's sure to include a lot more pedaling.

"I just want to train hard and have fun," he said. "I love riding, and I'm sure I'm always going to want to race.

"The one thing that I really like about cycling," he added, "is that, unlike some other things, what you put into it is what you get out of it. If you don't train, you're not going to do well in a race. If you train hard, you're going to do well. There's no judging in a race. It's how hard you are willing to push yourself."

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