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Video: The art and mischief of Justin Simoni

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Denver gonzo athlete Justin Simoni's singular achievement this summer in the Tour Divide, a 2745-mile mountain bike race that crosses the Continental Divide 39 times between Canada and Mexico, is the focus of this week's feature, "Going to Extremes." But cycling is only one of Simoni's multiple and oddly linked enthusiasms, which in recent years have ranged from solo art shows featuring an Andy Warhol-like persona to playing cymbals in the Itchy-O Band, the city's celebrated (but quasi-anonymous) cadre of marching musicians.

"I approach almost anything like it's an art project," Simoni told me as he traced the disparate motives that went into his racing endeavors. To get a better idea of what he means, it helps to have some sense of the kind of art projects Simoni has embarked upon. Some of his work is featured on his website.

For a close look at him in action, though, nothing beats this time-lapse video of the artist at work. Words Are Sweet Sounds for Objects Unreal is essentially a portrait of Jack Kerouac, composed of individual letters and words found on the first page of On the Road, painted in various colors. "This painting tries to blur the line between 'reading' this piece as literature or something to take in visually," Simoni explains on his website concerning this work, undertaken while he was still a student at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.

Check out the creative process below:

For another view of Simoni as performer, there's also the YouTube clip he made with friends to promote Cubelets, a robot construction kit for kids from Boulder's Modular Robotics that features snap-together, self-propelled cubes. That's Simoni as the mad-scientist spokesman, complete with ersatz accent:

More about all this, and cycling as well, can be found on Simoni's website and training blog. And while our feature mentioned that the single-speed bike he rode to victory in the Tour Divide is on display at Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop, it's also worth mentioning that the shop itself has now moved from LoDo to the Highlands -- to 3800 Irving, in fact.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Video: Justin Simoni on what it takes to ride the 2,745-mile Tour Divide."

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