Tim Johnson knows a thing or two about the Cyclocross World Championships. Johnson raced in the event 13 times and is one of the six U.S. riders to podium at the event when he finished third in the U23 race in 1999.
It has been a while since Johnson last went to Cyclocross Worlds—he last went in 2014 in Hoogerheide—but this week he was in Bogense for the 2019 event. While there, he got the chance to see the event from “the other side.”
Johnson started working as the USA Cycling Foundation Development Director last summer, and he was in Bogense hosting two donors to the USAC Mud Fund and helping out Team USA where possible.
I took a few minutes to catch up with TJ right after the Elite Women’s race on Saturday where a member of his Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld family, Kaitie Keough, had just ridden into the top seven.
See below for a transcript of our brief chat among the boats of the USA parking area.
Interview: Tim Johnson 2019 Bogense Cyclocross World Championships
Cyclocross Magazine: Tim Johnson, you’re at Worlds, but you’re not racing. How’s it been going?
Tim Johnson: The last Worlds I was at was Hoogerheide in like 2014, so it’s been while.
CXM: I know you’ve been working with your USA Cycling position. How’s it been going and what have you been up to?
TJ: We’re hosting a couple of our Mud Fund donors here at the World Championships. Of the two who are here, one is a first-timer at Worlds. They’ve only watched races like this on TV, and then our other donor, he’s been to a few Worlds, so he knows the score.
It’s so cool to watch an event like this through the eyes of someone who has never been a part of it. It’s great. We’re having a great time in Denmark.
CXM: You’ve been a lot of Worlds, been on a podium at Worlds, does it give you some extra excitement seeing their excitement at being here?
TJ: Yeah, you know, watching some of the pre-ride stuff, talking to some of the riders before and after the races, I do have a lot of that feeling. I know what they’re thinking and they’re feeling, and then there are things I want to say and I filter that down to maybe a couple of things that are useful in any situation. I don’t necessarily want to go like, you should totally do this or that. It’s not my place. These women and men out here racing all know what’s up.
*Kaitie Keough rolls by to say hi to TJ after her seventh-place Elite Women’s ride*
Kaitie Keough: Sorry for interrupting your interview.
CXM: Very Midwest to apologize after a great ride at Worlds. We had some great rides here today [on Saturday], being with USA Cycling, you have to feel good about that, huh?
TJ: I think it’s been a great week for U.S. cyclocross. We’ve got the World Championships coming. Watching the races this morning, Alex Morton had a terrible start and then just motored through the entire field, that was super-cool. In the Under 23s, I don’t think we’ve ever had that many riders stacked toward the front of the U23 Men’s race. We always have one or two riders, but never that many.
Then the Elite Women’s race, watching Little Kaitie send it, Fahringer had a great ride. It’s unfortunate Katie Compton didn’t have a good day. But yeah, there are a lot of things to feel good about.
CXM: What’s up next for you? Just keeping your head down and working on developing the Mud Fund and your position at USAC?
TJ: We’re looking for more donors, of course. We just wanted to kick it off right the first time. We’ve got Jesse on board now. He inherited a lot of things that have been in place for a long time, and so it’s all about looking to the future and seeing what we can do next.
A lot of things that happen, you’re a part of something for so long, now that I’m on the other side, I’m like, oh, that’s why we do things a certain way. Gotcha. Well now I can actually help to do it from the inside.
CXM: Any Masters bike racing coming up for you in the near future?
TJ: I like to ride, I don’t get a chance to ride as much as I’d like to, but I’ll be out there.
CXM: Thank you Tim. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
TJ: Anyone at home, it’s amazing, come to Worlds, come to Worlds.
CXM: I agree. It’s my first one and this has been pretty incredible. And that’s coming from Tim, he’s done it a few times.
For more reports, interviews, photos and bike profiles from Bogense, see our 2019 Bogense World Championships page.