Believe it or not, it is almost time to turn the page on 2017. To close out the year, we are taking a look back at 13 of the stories that shaped the year. This list is by no means comprehensive and is loosely intended to be in chronological order, starting with the 2017 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford.
The year started off by saying hello to a new addition to the pantheon of men who have won the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships. As the calendar turns to 2018, we get ready to wish a happy retirement to two of the GOATs, Todd Wells and Jonathan Page.
Both Page and Wells have announced this season will be their last racing professionally. Wells is hanging up his cycling cleats as of December 31, and Page will be heading to Reno to race Nationals one last time. Both men leave behind an impressive legacy of excellence.
For those who have been following cyclocross over the years, Page and Wells need no introduction. The first cyclocross race I ever attended was Page’s fourth Nationals win in Madison in 2013, so many readers can do a much better job summarizing their many accomplishments.
Page and Wells share seven national championships between the two of them. Wells first won in Baltimore in 2001 and Page took his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey the next year in Napa. By the time Page took the title at the 2013 Nationals in Madison, he had four to his name and Wells three. Page also stands alone as the sole American male to podium at the World Championships after finishing second in 2007.
Both men took their own approach to racing cyclocross. Wells’ primary discipline is mountain biking, so he raced ’cross in part as training. After winning Cyclocross Nationals in Bend in 2010, he stopped racing the event when it moved to January because it conflicted with mountain bike training. He returned for what would prove to be his last Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford earlier this year.
Cyclocross Magazine spoke with Wells after he announced his retirement on his blog. We asked him about his legacy, favorite memory and future plans. There is too much to quote, so check it out if you missed it.
While most riders raced in the U.S. and then traveled to Europe for the World Cups and Worlds, Jonathan Page packed his bags and moved to Belgium to live with his family and race cyclocross. For over a decade, he lived and raced in Belgium, returning to the U.S. each year to race Nationals in his home country.
Page’s record of success at U.S. Cyclocross Nationals is matched only by Alison Dunlap and Katie Compton. From his first win in 2002 through Austin Nationals in 2015, Page finished on the podium 11 of the 12 times he raced. He also added a third-place finish in 1998 when he was still a U23 rider.
Page returned to the U.S. in 2015 and has been racing domestically the past several years. This season he dialed his schedule back to attend events such as Jingle Cross, Cincinnati and CrossVegas that the promoters invited him to. We profiled his cantilever-equipped Kindhuman Kudu at the Cincinnati weekend, which will be remembered as the bike that carries him off into the cyclocross sunset.
Page talked about his last Jingle Cross and future plans in a chat on Day 2 of Jingle Cross.
So what’s next for the two legends? Wells said he tried to find a job in the industry but was unable to find something that worked. It sounds like he will still be busy though.
“My number one goal is to spend more time with my family. I got my mortgage brokers’ license this summer and have started my new lending career with Sinberg Capital Lending in Durango. I also started a coaching business last year WellsCoached.com. I’m planning on doing some camps with the Cycling House and Carmichael Training in Tucson and have my Durango Dirt Fondo as well. I have plenty on my plate and I will still jump in a race or two next year, it just won’t be trying to fight for the win.”
Page has been working as a bellman at a ski resort near his Utah home and will soon be starting his own landscaping business.
“I am selling bike things, doing daddy day care while my wife works and getting landscaping tools together to start a small landscaping company. I start as a full-time bellman in November. Twenty-six years in the sport, nine national campionships, a silver at Worlds, but there’s no “after career” for me. I do think it’s a little crazy that after a long and successful racing career, it looks like 2017 will be the last time I am involved in ’cross at all.”
Our Cyclocross Magazine team would like to thank Page and Wells for the years of excitement they have provided the sport of cyclocross over the years. We wish them the best in retirement, and as we noted in our interview with Wells, there is always the option to pull a Don Myrah and come back as a Masters racer!
Updated: If you are wondering how retirement is going, we saw this tweet from Wells literally right after posting this Year in Review:
— todd wells (@yotwells) December 28, 2017
2017 Year in Review