After racing in Europe, Jonathan Page is back in the United States on the hunt for another Stars and Stripes. The 33-year old has won three times before, in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and wants to win it again.
Page is a rare breed of American racers as cross is his day job, the way he supports his family. “I have to perform. I always come here to win, it’s just the way it is. “ said Page about the pressure to perform.
“The only pressure that I feel is the one that I put on myself. Now I know I’ve done the right preparation and I really don’t feel the pressure now. I just really hope for a clean race, no mistakes or okay if I make a mistake, maybe I can make up for it because it’s tricky, it’s a tricky race, it’s slippery and things happen quickly. “
In the last World Cup, Page finished eighth at the Igorre World Cup in Spain which by all accounts a tough race with deep mud after week-long rains. He finished at little over a minute down from winner Stybar.
Due to last minute changes, Page had his family working the pit for him that day and even his kids 2-year old Milo and 5-year old Emma were in on it.
“We actually had to fly down. My wife Cori did the pits for me she’s really good at it and she had Milo and Emma in there holding on to the metal gate because we didn’t find anyone to watch them right away. She was juggling a few things, I just had to ride my bike, she was doing everything else.” explained Page.
The eighth place showed that he was right on track with preparation. “That was the plan,” said Page about peaking for Nationals, “and it appears that way. The only issue is the traveling but so far so good.”
Page had just flown into Bend this Friday morning at 1:00am.
“I hope I go the best after Nationals and then I’ll be bad.” smiled Page about handling jetlag. “How am I coping with it? I’m happy with the sunshine and I’m happy with the conditions that we have, it’s good to be back in America.”
Page knows that he has strong competitors for the title, but admits that he had not been watching the others. “I just get information from people that are watching it, I just know that a few guys are coming up and I’m just another one of them.” he added with a laugh.
His approach to not having seen the others race is simple. “I don’t think about it, out here it seems that you’re going to have to race your own race anyway so that’s fine for me.”
Page had just finished pre-riding the course when I talked to him and he liked what he had seen.
“I think it’s a little short and apparently they’re going to make it a little bit longer. I’m happy, I’m definitely happy with it. I saw it in the summer time when I was here, now I’m even more happy, it seems like a really good variety of terrain. “ said Page. “The best person should win I think.”
Especially if the weather turns as predictions of snow, freezing rain were in the books and Page agreed that the nastier the better for his chances. “Honestly it is then I don’t have to worry about teammates or ganging up on me or being a road race.”
But overall Page is quite happy about his current form. “I am very excited to be where I am, I am at a good point right now to start the second half of my season.”
And a bonus were the crowds cheering for him as he was riding, with cries of ‘welcome back Jonathan’.
“It’s great, it’s really nice. “ said Page about the crowds. “I heard ‘Congratulations on your eighth place’, it’s neat. I didn’t realize how much people do follow the racing so that’s nice. “