Jonathan Page (Planet Bike p/b Blue) is quite happy with the move of the USA Cyclocross National Championships to January. You see it works perfectly for the American that relocated with his family to Belgium seven years ago in order to pursue the racing dream.
“It’s actually better for me. For me, if I can be good for one time during the year it would have to be at World Championships time, and for that month it would be great to be good.” Page told podiuminsight.com.
Though Page returned stateside to start his season once again there was a change this year. “I’ve come into the season more fit than most years I’d say, I’m still not sharp as a tack but that’s okay because I haven’t raced that much, that was the point.”
“I’ve been working with my trainer Todd Herriott and we’ve been working with a power meter and doing all these fancy workouts, now for the second year in a row. According to all these numbers and things, I’m more fit and it shows. I’m strong but not super.”
In his five races on home soil, though the snap in the legs was missing Page was able to dig in to fight in the front.
“Yeah exactly.” agreed a relaxed Page. “The races have been so fast, that’s even more difficult, I’m happy with where I’m at.”
Overall, he was was “satisfied” with three podiums in five races before making his way back to start his European campaign. He will not return to race stateside until Nationals in January.
“I’m pretty full the whole season. I’m luck enough to get a series contract for the Superprestige, GVA Trofee and the Fidea Cup. It’s very good.”
Getting a contract to the three big Belgium cross series is a big deal for any rider. “You have to show that you can race well in Europe, they don’t just give it to anyone that’s true, especially being a foreign rider. And then if you’re Belgian, it’s definitely that much harder. I have a man, I worked with his father and then, I work now with him since the beginning, well I didn’t really get paid anything in the beginning,” laughed Page, “I was lucky to finish on the first lap.”
It is the second year that Page, working with his agent, has been able to get a series contract. His goal is simple but certainly not easy to achieve.
“I just want to be more consistent and be there.” he said. “I had a lot of bad luck last year, if it wasn’t injury it was something, but it wasn’t that I wasn’t riding all that well. I was riding well but something would happen so I want my results to speak for themselves. Yeah, I could tell that I’m good all day long but until you get in the top, whatever, 10, 5, then it’s all talk. I don’t like talking. I’ll concentrate on the World Cup races because they are worth the most points.”
Last year was a tough season for Page, with bad luck, back injury, ruptured tendon in his ankle , all compounded by his long-time sponsor announcing that he was leaving the sport. What he called “silly” actions were tried to turn their luck around.
But is there anything that can be done to turn around bad luck? “I don’t know, you tell me. That’s the million dollar question.” Page replied. “It’s very frustrating, mentally it’s very frustrating so you have to keep it under control and believe in yourself. I’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Experience and the people around him, especially his wife Cori and kids Milo, Emma and Pearl, have enabled Page to be able to handle it.
All the American riders have circled the dates of February 2nd and 3rd, 2013, the weekend that the Cyclocross World Championships come to Louisville, KY.
“It’s huge. I’d like to think that I’ve been part of this whole cyclocross growing in America. This is a great sport, it’s huge for Americans and the Europeans are obviously taking an interest too.”
Though Planet Bike re-upped his sponsorship, making him the only rider on the squad, it’s always on his mind as a father of three.
“Hopefully I get sponsored for the next few years.” he commented.
“I always have to think about that because I’m like an independent contractor so you always have to find work but it’s a interesting world we live in because sport isn’t guaranteed. I think about it and I think what might be my next step to eventually move back to America, that would be good.”
A move back home after a couple of years is in the cards. “If I could do it for four more years then I’ve be really excited. Some here and some in Europe.”
Page’s fitness was evident on the final day of the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross on a very muddy course. After battling with Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) for a couple of laps, he was able to take advantage of a bobble and ride cleanly to take second at Planet Bike Cup day two. A race that was won by former World Champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) who left with a new found respect for the American riders.
“They have more an appreciation for what I’ve done and for the other guys that come over for a few weeks at a time. It’s nice to hear that and it’s also nice that the people around them, traveling, say the same.” Page said about the comments from the Belgian rider.
“I have a great setup, it took a long time to get that, I have a house, I have a home, I have Franky. It’s good but it’s not home.”
Page is definitely a trailblazer. His presence has made it easier, though not easy by any means, for the up and comers that want to race in Europe.
“I think it’s definitely easier for somebody to come over and do it. I’m proud of what I’ve done, what we’ve done as a family, my sponsor, Planet Bike, has been a huge part of it.”
Page’s first European race will be today’s Superprestige Ruddervoorde in Belgium.