MAIP boss lands fourth national BMX win

Caught in the BMX craze of the 1980s, a local man stumbled upon what would become a lifelong passion.

By day John Schaffitzel is the assistant general manager of the MidAmerica Industrial Park but when the weekend rolls around, he’s a nationally recognized BMX racer.

“My interest in BMX started when I was a little kid, when BMX had its craze back in the 80s,” he said. “There were a lot of tracks that popped up all around Owasso, Claremore and Tulsa area. So that was my thing as a fifth grader.”

Every Christmas list featured bike parks and Schaffitzel frequented his local bike shop, Wheels of Owasso, and dreamed of the bike he wanted to build.

Time drove on and in 2008 Schaffitzel found himself searching for a track nearby to introduce his son to the sport.

“I found an active track in Sand Springs. I took my son, I was not so interested in myself riding, but thought it would be a good sport for him to try. After a couple years of going four or five times a year he decided he wanted to do it more often. When he upgraded his bike, I bought a bike and jumped in the gate with the dads too,” he said. “It turned into a shared thing and there's a lot of father-son combos that race. The dads all get out there and bang handlebars, race each other now.”

Things picked up speed in 2012— “I started on the 20-inch bike again. I'd been riding the cruisers but I went back to 20-inch and worked my way from novice back up to intermediate.”

Schaffitzel said the recent Sooner National race was his fourth national win in the intermediate class.

“If I get one more of those, or two more local wins, I move to the expert class,” he said.

While the wins are nice, Schaffitzel said that’s not what keeps him going anymore.

“The seat time on the road trips got us hooked on doing nationals. The 10-hour drive to Louisville sounds miserable, except when you're on your way back and you tell race stories the whole way back,” he said. “The neat thing to me is my son now understands gear ratios and can do his own bike repair. Two years ago I put him on a plane and sent him to Arizona. I said here's a golf bag, your bike is all taken apart, when you get there you'll have to put it back together to do your camp. At 13-years old he was able to do that.”

He said, “That initial spark was easy because I was a kid and it was dirt jumps. But what keeps me going now is that I love seeing all the kids get a chance to compete.”