Our friends at Cyclingdirt.com took the time to sit down with former National Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson and his wife and Multiple Canadian National Champion and Olympian Lynne Bessette following their rides at the Hopbrook Dam mountain bike race. Johnson took second behind Andrew Freye and ahead of Cyclocross regular Matt O’Keefe. Bessette also took 2nd in the Women’s race behind Aleksandra Rokita.
Lynne Bessette recently announced that she would be returning to racing for the 2009 season.For her first race of the season, she headed to the Hopbrook Dam mountain bike race, a stop on the New England Root 66 mountain bike series. Accoridng to Bessette, “It was the first time I was on the mountain bike this year.” When asked when the last time she had ridden a mountain bike was, Bessette responded, “I don’t know. I would have to think!”
Turns out that these professionals are a lot like us when it comes to nerves before a race. “When I ride the course before the race,” said Bessette of her pre-race rituals, “I actually get off the bike because I’m scared. Technically, I don’t have confidence in myself, but once the race is going, I’ll go through things that I don’t go while I’m just riding the course.” Bessette also talked about her plans for the rest of the season, highlighting the end of July as her goal peak in fitness, for possibly the Trophee d’Or Feminin on July 25-29.
Tim Johnson was also on hand to take in the atmosphere of the Root 66 series, and came agonizingly close to a win in the Pro Men’s race, being beaten at the line by Andrew Freye. Johnson was not aware of the closing Freye and may have let his foot off the gas a little too early to take the win. We are all well aware of Johnson’s sprinting abilities, so it leaves one scratching his head as to where that sprint was on this day. When reminded of his sprint at Rad Racing in September, Johnson responded, “Yeah, Ryan… Smoked him…”
Johnson lent us a window into why he enjoys ‘cross so much, and while he wasn’t directly talking about cyclocross, the same theories can be applied. “That’s the thing, when its pissing rain, if you want to go for a 4 hour road ride when its 40 degrees and raining, it’s pretty much miserable, no matter what, but when you come out here and ride in the woods, get cold and wet, but really you’re having fun while you’re doing it, and really it’s a good workout, so I’d much rather do this than slog for 5 hours in the rain.
Johnson, too, talked about his season to come. On top of racing at Battenkill, Johnson has “Tour of the Gila after that, and then Joe Martin Stage Race, and then Philly [Philadelphia International Classic], so it’s really a couple more stage races and a couple one-days and we’re in the heart of the summer.” Would a win be in the cards for Johnson? “I would like to win one race this year. We have champagne and good beer at home for that time I actually win a race.”