Monday, June 05, 2006

My interview with Jonathan Page

An interview with United States’ best ever cyclocross racer, Jonathan Page? Here? Yep, JP sat down with Plus One Lap to answer some burning questions as he prepares to enter the 2006 cross season. Hear what he had to say…

Plus one lap: What's it like being one of the only Americans in a Euro-dominated sport?

Jonathan Page: It's getting much better now that I have earned some respect over there. I don't feel any sense of alienation or anything over there. I feel like they treat me as just another competitor now but it wasn't easy!

+1lap: How's your Dutch?

JP: I can swear and I know a lot of bad words. I hated school growing up so I just can't get myself to go to classes like my wife does. Soon my 1.5 year old daughter will know more Dutch than me and then I guess I'll have to get into school...

+1lap: You got food poisoning before Nationals last year and still placed third, what was the decision process like to determine whether you were going to race or stay in bed? What was it like racing Nationals in that condition?

JP: For me, there was no decision. I knew I was going to go out there and try, no matter how bad I felt and even if I didn't make it more than a few feet past the start line. Otherwise I would have felt like I just gave it away. There were a lot of people that were counting on me; sponsors, family, friends, supporters...I didn't want to let them down. But honestly, it was horrible racing in that condition. I was vomiting every lap and I had to throw my skinsuit away...if you know what I mean. After a few laps, I no longer cared what place I got, I just wanted to make it through. I felt like I at least owed that to everyone. But, afterward, I paid for it too. My wife recovered 2 days later but I was still suffering after a week. It's not fun to race when you can't really race. I hope it was a once in a lifetime experience.

+1lap: Is your only US race this coming season going to be Nationals, as you have done in the past?

JP: Probably. Unless nationals is held in December instead of in Jan. like the rest of the world. Then I won't come at all.

+1lap: You got 10th in the World Champs this year, was that one of your greatest sporting accomplishments? What was that race like for you? Were the stairs as brutal as they looked on Sporza (Dutch TV)?

JP: I am definitely proud of that result and I know that there is still room for improvement so that makes me very hopeful and motivated for the next seasons to come. The race was fast and hard. I made 1 mistake with less than 3 laps to go and couldn't make up for it. That was disappointing because I had made it through the selections and just as I settled in for the final, I fell. Yeah, the stairs were hard but then you had to get on your bike and climb a hill at full speed. That was harder.

+1lap: Any tips to amateur racers as far as choosing the "right" tire pressure for a particular course? What sorts of principles guide your air pressure choices?

JP: Tire pressure is an individual choice I think.

+1lap: What would you say is your weakness in a CX race? Your strength?

JP: My wife is typing these answers as I talk while coralling my daughter who is jumping on the hotel bed...I was thinking of my answer for weakness and she said "thats easy...selling yourself"! Thats true. I have worked hard to make my weaknesses in the races not weaknesses anymore but I missed a lot of opportunities in the sport before I got some help from a friend that has become an agent. So, my biggest weakness is the business part of the sport. My strength? My biggest strength is my bike handling skills.

+1lap: In your opinion, why is cross suddenly becoming more popular in America?

JP: It's fun to watch! More fun than road racing. It's also fun to participate.

+1lap: If you were never a pro-cyclist what would you want to do instead?

JP: I would want to landscape in the summertime and teach skiing in the winter.

+1lap: You're going to be celebrating your 30th birthday this September, has that made you think about how many more years you have as a pro bike racer? Any thoughts about what you'll do after you stop racing professionally?

JP: Knowing that I will be 30 has made me realize that now is the time to get some great results so people will notice and so I can race for more years to come. I'm going to continue spending quality time with my family and hopefully not get stuck working behind a desk. I'll try to find something I enjoy.

Jonathan Page got 10th place at last year’s Cyclocross World Championships (the best ever placing for an American). He can be found on the web at

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