Look out, world, when Tim Johnson makes 'cross his focus for 2011/2012. File photo ©Bart Hazen
by Josh Liberles
Tim Johnson is just embarking on the second day of his five-day Ride on Washington in support of Bikes Belong, and we brought you info on that worthy endeavor last weekend. While we chatted with Johnson to get info on that bike advocacy-supporting initiative, we also had time to squeeze in a few quick questions about his upcoming 2011/2012 campaign.
For the first time, Johnson will be building his entire season to focus on his passion: cyclocross. He joins Jonathan Page as one of the few Americans to make a living out of racing ’cross – something that many top domestic ’crossers have told us they hope to emulate, and that we hope to be a growing trend.
When we tracked down Johnson, he was fresh off of a plane from Majorca, where he was riding with sponsors SRAM and Zipp, as well as members of the European press, to launch the new SRAM Black Red and Zipp Firecrest wheels.
Cyclocross Magazine: So what’s coming up for you for the summer season? Sounds like you have some fun projects in store.
Tim Johnson: I have a lot of stuff planned – some fun, some hard work. Right after the Bike Summit, I’m doing a Red Bull / Cannondale demo tour called “The Red Bull Crossroads” with Aaron Chase, who’s a mountain bike freeride guy. We’re going from Baltimore to New Hampshire, stopping in Philly and New York City, stopping at pump tracks, doing ’cross rides, mountain bike rides, road rides and just hitting any bikes we can while we’re ripping along in this crazy Red Bull Unimog (the “MXT”).
Then I do a training camp in Southern California and start racing mid-May or end of May. I’m racing road and MTB with a collection of my same sponsors – Cannondale, SRAM, Zipp, Red Bull.
CXM: And you’ll continue to pick and choose the events you want to do? That sounds amazing…
TJ: I can’t believe the amount of support I’ve been able to get, just from people who want to see ’cross succeed – I’m a part of something cool with cyclocross. It’s not like you’re involved in a sport where no one really cares. There are a lot of ways to stay in cycling and not just be racing. That’s something which as a racer you lose touch with, but as a fan of the sport it’s great to see more often.
CXM: And do you have specific summer race goals?
TJ: I’m targeting getting ready to race well at ’cross – and that means trying to win the National Championships and the USGP.
CXM: How has the recovery been from your crash at Worlds? You weren’t too badly hurt?
TJ: Actually, it was pretty bad. My whole left side on my ribs, any time I did anything it was really intense pain – I really tore up my ribs on that side. I’m just now able to stand up while I’m riding, that trip to Majorca was a test and I was finally able to do it.
CXM:Well, we’re glad to hear that you’re on the road to recovery, Tim, and we can’t wait to see what you can do without a pesky, grueling road season getting in the way of your cyclocross campaign.
If you missed it, go back and read the rest of this interview, where Johnson takes to the streets in support of cyclists and leads a ride from Boston to Washington, D.C.. And stay tuned for a follow-up as the summer “offseason” gets underway.