“I had a blast but it hurt a lot, that was the goal so that worked.” said US National Champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) who proudly wore his just received Stars & Stripes at the finale of the Surf City cross series on Sunday.
What a season for Johnson. The most victories ever with 10 UCI wins, taking the overall at NACT and reclaiming the National title.
“There’s no specific reason for it happening or not happening, it’s just happening and that’s the way I like it.” replied Johnson back in December when asked how amazing his season had been … so far. And he’s not done yet.
While many have put away their cross gear, neither Johnson nor Meredith Miller (CalGiant) are done as the UCI Cyclocross World Championships are quickly approaching. Both riders came to Aptos near Santa Cruz California to race as part of their preparation and each soloed to win their respective races.
“I had a blast. I’m glad that I made it out because I’ll feel a lot better mentally going into Europe next weekend.” said Miller who flew in from Colorado on Saturday.
It was the first race for both of them since the National Championships in Bend Oregon, back in December.
So why come to a local race? “I’ve ridden outside a lot but I haven’t ridden on dirt very much so that’s the first thing and I haven’t raced for an hour so that’s the second thing. “ said Johnson. “I did some mountain biking on my cross bike but you can’t recreate this, to do a whole hour connected like that, no matter who you’re racing with or against it’s always hard.”
For Miller, it simply feels good to race. “For me I like being able to race because honestly I prefer racing over training. Georgia Gould is one person who always said that one reason she liked to do cross is because she didn’t have to train, I kind of agree.” laughed Miller. “It keeps me a little bit more sharp mentally too because even though I’m on my bike it’s still something that’s so different.”
Miller also jumped in the Men’s Cat A right after the Women’s Cat A race to increase the intensity.
Trying something new. Johnson decided to stay in the United States to get ready for Worlds this year, skipping the race blitzkrieg in Belgium during the holidays.
“It’s a huge commitment and a huge sacrifice to go there early and stay the entire six weeks. The Christmas camp is a different type but I’ve done it a few different ways and going over there for the duration didn’t work for me the last time, previous to that I’d gone over for a couple of weeks at a time, I’ve gone over for a week and so this way, I know I can count on being physically prepared.” said Johnson.
Like Miller, Johnson used Surf City as part of his mental prep.
“That’s why coming to a race like this is working on mental preparation to make sure that if I go there, I just don’t want to go there and dick around, it’s got to be, I want to be put effort into it so I can hopefully get something back. But that said I could flat in the first lap and the whole race is done but that’s okay at least I tried to do it right.” said Johnson.
And he also has to remember the demands from his other job, as road captain with the UnitedHeathcare p/b Maxxis team.
“Something like what Jonathan [Page] does is huge, he has his whole family over there, everything is into that one thing and I have respect for it but different things for different people. I’m pulled in different directions with the road team stuff and I have to make considerations for everybody and hopefully this is the best way.”
After Nationals, Johnson took a break, got his wisdom teeth pulled, which “guaranteed him to be resting”. He’s migrated south to Santa Barbara in California to get back into training.
“I’ve been trying to get back on the bike to get my fitness back and then I just have to, racing like this stimulates that need to race so I did that.” said Johnson.
Mixing it up. Miller has been getting ready with a combination of trainer rides and cross country skiing.
“It’s been really really cold back in Fort Collins and I know that’s what the conditions are going to be like over in Europe but it’s just been too dangerous to get out on the roads because they’ve been icy so I’ve done a lot of trainer rides and a fair amount, I think since Nationals I’ve had seven days of cross country skiing.”
The nordic skiing serves two purposes, the first is physical.
“It’s going to give me a lot of the cardiovascular workout that I need, since I can’t really get out on the road and do any long ride it’s going to give me the workout that I need cardiovascularly and then when I’m on the trainer then I can do the short hard intervals.” explained Miller.
And the second is mental for Miller who races with Team TIBCO on the road.
“I’m not on my bike for 365 days a year,” laughed current US Road National Champion Miller, “since now I seemed to have extended my cycling season to a 12-month job so it’s just good to mix it up a little bit and also looking beyond cross to the road season.”
Next up: World Cup.
Miller is flying out on January 17 and will be tackling two World Cups, Roubaix on January 20, and Hoogerhiede the week after Worlds on January 31.
“I hope so.” replied Miller when asked if she was ready. On only her second year racing cross, it will be her first time at the Cross World Championships.
Johnson still has one more week of training states-side with some some motor pacing and some really hard and really intense effort which he hopes will get him where he needs to be.
Then he’ll tackle then Hoogerhiede World Cup with his teammates Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll.
“I have almost no goals,” said Johnson about Hoogerhiede, “I want to get through it I want to race the entire hour, I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to have a mechanical, I don’t want to throw it away because of something that’s my fault I want to race the entire thing no matter what position I’m in and then build up from that for the next weekend.”
As for his goal for Worlds, in our last interview in December, he was clear “Top 10”.
Johnson won the race with brothers Andy and Ben Jacques-Maynes both of BISSELL coming in second and third. Webcor DS Karen Brems finished second behind Miller with Katrina Baumsteiger (Team Rambuski Law) in third.
Photo Gallery Women’s
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Photo Gallery Men’s Cat A and Single Speed
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