Here, Jonathan Page running the sand, broken ribs and all, at Koksijde for Worlds last year. Bart Hazen
by Molly Hurford
Catching up with Jonathan Page is always tough. For one thing, the American spends most of his time with his family in Belgium, so time zones alone are enough to make interviewing difficult. Secondly, Page is known for being soft-spoken when it comes to interviews. However, when he opens up, it’s well worth the wait, because he’s got a lot of gems to share. So we were thrilled that he took a few minutes after Diegem on Sunday to have a candid (and sometimes goofy!) chat with us on Skype while cleaning his bikes. After a tough beginning, Page has had a resurgent season, including a 12th place in Superprestige Gavere and the GvA Rouwmoer in Essen, fifth place at Versluys Cyclocross, and his 15th place finish at the World Cup in Namur that granted him a spot on the US Worlds team.
Cyclocross Magazine: So, question number one: how great does it feel being listed as the best US ’cross racer right now?
Jonathan Page: I am? When did that happen and where? (Bike number two in and hung up.)
CXM: Twitter told us, “The US #Cyclocross press needs to get it together. Clearly @thejonathanpage is the fastest US male right now. Cc: @cyclocross @velonews” … That’s kind of a big deal! So, feel good?
JP: It’s always nice to have support. To be honest, I don’t follow the hashtag things and all that so I didn’t see it, but it’s good to hear that people still support me.
CXM: Yeah, everyone has been really excited – watching Twitter during the race and seeing a ton of support for you has been really cool. So what’s the plan? Nationals?
JP: Yes. I will be at Nationals, thanks to my old sponsor Planet Bike and also Jerry Chabot.
CXM: Nice! Goals for that?
JP: Goals? The only place that counts at Nationals is first, I suppose. I’m going to do the best I can.
CXM: And what is your current sponsor situation?
JP: Current sponsor situation: looking for a main and a bike sponsor or a team. A few good things have come through in the past week and I will make my final decision on the 2nd of January.
CXM: I’ll be excited to hear about that. Will you still spend most of the season in Belgium again next year?
JP: You never know…
CXM: And what is the full January plan? Nats, then Cincy, then Worlds?
JP: No Cincy. Or maybe I will. Not sure yet. I’m coming back to Belgium.
CXM: Oh wow. That’s a whole lot of travel! How do you cope with that?
JP: I’ll only be going back and forth two times this year. That’s nothing.
CXM: True. So what about after Worlds? Back to Belgium again?
JP: Yes. Directly back to Belgium. I’ll miss my family. I’ve still got 8 races after Worlds over here too.
CXM: Also, goals for Worlds?
JP: I’ll try my best at worlds, like every year. I hate to make placing predictions. Talk is cheap.
CXM: You had a slower start to the season, but it seems like things are really picking up – was that intentional?
JP: (Laughs) I was worn out at the beginning from all that travel in the US, and then I was sick the next five weeks or so. I intended to be a little slower, but not that slow.
CXM: No, not that slow! Just wondering if it was planned to peak now rather than early. And how has the ability to bunnyhop the barriers been helping in races? Has it changed the dynamic?
JP: You know what? I’m scared of hopping barriers because I hate racking my nuts. But even old dogs gotta learn new tricks. I think it’s helped … in some places anyway.
CXM: That is the best answer I have ever gotten to a question. So, how has it been with the influx of Americans this week? I’m always curious about that, since you’re the one who spends the most time there. Do they seem super out of their element, or do they adjust easily?
JP: You know, I don’t get a lot of chance to see them. Most of the time, I don’t even see them at all. I’d like to be able to say hello, but when it’s cold and rainy like this, there’s no time for anyone or you freeze. After the race, same thing. So I guess you could say it doesn’t affect me either way, really.
CXM: How are you feeling about racing in the freezing cold and snow at Madison?
JP: I grew up in the cold and snow. Beats the hell out of wind and rain. I like riding in the snow. Always have. It reminds me that someday, I’ll be out of the mud and onto the snow. I’ll be picturing that as I ride and race around. So, long story short: I can’t wait.
CXM: Well, we look forward to seeing you in Wisconsin.
JP: I’m still working on wheels, by the way, so this was a great multitasking effort here.
CXM: I’m very impressed! Thanks a million for the catch up, and talk to you soon!