Tim Johnson on His Prototype Disc Brakes, His First Season Win, and What’s Next
by Molly Hurford
For someone who skipped road season to prep for cyclocross season, Tim Johnson has been having a rough Fall, from false starts to bad luck. Until this weekend at Jingle Cross, he hadn’t take a win (though he took second to Jeremy Powers at Gloucester in October.) And maybe more interesting than his win was that he took it on his new prototype disc brake-equipped bike. So, tech nerds that we are at Cyclocross Magazine, we just had to catch up with him and ask a bit about it.
Cyclocross Magazine: How did the first win of the season feel? Does it seem like you’re starting to get to where you want to be?
Tim Johnson: It felt great! As the best directly-translated quotations from fellow cyclists have said in the past — the “sensations” are good …
CXM: How was the course at Jingle Cross? Why do you think that’s where you’ve done the best this year?
TJ: The courses had lots of diversity: flats, mud, fast grass, in/out/around buildings at the venue. Something for everyone and places where it was very testing to anyone, whether they had good legs or bad. Berden mentioned that the courses reminded him of a few in Belgium and he’d know … the course had sections where course tape was just a suggested line, not like a bobsled chute that takes all choice away and courses turn into a single-file procession. Actually, that’s something that comes up all too often, promoters and course designers should widen things when possible and let the racing expand and contract throughout a lap.
CXM: What disc brakes were you using? How did you like them?
TJ: I was using my prototype Cannondale SuperX with disc brakes from Avid. I’m lucky to have a chance to ride this stuff as it’s being developed, the folks at Cannondale and SRAM are all riders themselves and not exactly waiting around to see what happens, they’re putting bikes underneath me that are pushing the limits and it’s up to me to see how the work in race conditions — so I’m racing them!
CXM: Do you think you’ll keep using them? Do you think other elites will start using them more now?
TJ: I think I’ll use them when it’s an advantage or where it might be interesting to see how the bike handles a specific course. From what I’ve seen, there are going to be surprises to the people that just picture discs working well on downhills …
CXM: Are you feeling ready for Los Angeles Cyclocross this weekend?
TJ: Hope so. My training has been going well and hopefully the weather cooperates and I can get in another week of solid work.
CXM: What’s after LACX for you?
TJ: I’ll head up to Bend for the last USGP weekend before heading over for the World Cups in Namur and Zolder … I’ll be waiting for Santa in Belgium this year — first time in a few years!
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