“It’s just that times are changing” said Jonathan Page.
You can say that again. After four years with Planet Bike, the three-time USA Cyclocross Champion and the only American racer to stand on the elite men podium at Cross Worlds, Page is searching for a new title sponsor. And after eight years of living in Belgium, the Page family relocated to Utah after buying their first ever home in the United States.
“It’s a process, it’s part of our three year plan or something.” an upbeat Page told podiuminsight on Monday afternoon while walking with his youngest daughter Pearl in his new neighborhood. “Planet Bike was the best sponsor, I was very lucky to have them for the last three, four years.”
“I have no title sponsor which means actually it’s harder for me to stay in the United States and race. I don’t get make start money here and I don’t have a sponsor obviously to pay for all the travel. So it’s going to be financially better for us to spend the season back in Belgium.”
The current plan is for his wife Cori and the three kids to return to Belgium at the end of September for school while Page races in America until the middle of October before joining his family.
He would “certainly” entertain the thought of staying full-time in North America if a title sponsor came into play. “There’s so much going for our family here and the kids are loving it, they have a big yard to play in. Cori and the kids went mountain biking while I was training today. It’s very nice, not to say that Belgium is bad but there are more options and things to do here than there.” Page continued with a laugh, “Obviously the weather is better”
The rest of the three-year plan depends on results. “I have to do well obviously to get a sponsor and continue on. It all depends on money really because financially it’s more beneficial for us to stay in Belgium, maybe we can do half the year here, half the year there. Our kids would do some satellite schools here in Utah and they would go to school in Belgium while we’re there. Honestly, their Flemish is better than their English now which is kind of scary also.” he laughed. Bedtime reading now consists of books in English for his kids.
“It’s not ideal.” he admitted. “but it’s working. We bought a house just outside of Park City, Utah. Amazing place, we’re so lucky in that way.”
The ideal situation would be a cyclocross and mountain bike program. “Ideally on a small cyclocross team to start; with a couple of elite riders, one or two women riders and then develop younger riders maybe not just juniors but under23, that’s the hole. A lot of these talented American riders go to the road because they are offered some money and we don’t have the structure like the Europeans do for cyclocross or off-road specific team that races throughout the year.”
“My family and I have put so much in racing and it’s a bit scary.” continued Page who is contemplating taking a mentorship role in the future. “I think that could be beneficial to myself and to others.”
Page would love to share what he has learned while living and racing in Europe. “There’s a big gap between cyclocross here and cyclocross there but I think I’m one of the guys that can hold the key to the next level, the transition period.”
Obviously, like all the other American cross racers, Page has circled February 3, 2013 on his calendar when the UCI Cyclocross Wold Championships will be held for the first time in North America. “I got that scheduled in.” he laughed.
He knows that everyone is upping their game for the big race in Louisville, KY. “I actually am more worried about making the Worlds team if they just base it on points. So I’ll start racing like I said here. I might come back again in November but financially that’s also difficult because of the travel, but yeah I’m going to have to raise my level by earning points in Europe if have to.”
Page has also changed his training this year. “I’ll just say that I’ve gone back to my roots and back to where I know that my training plan has worked. I believe now that I’m in very good shape, better than ever than I have been at this point in the summer. I’ve just done a lot of hard work already and it’s all based on taking some bets in the fall and winter.”
Since moving to Utah one week ago, Page has been enjoying some of the local mid-week mountain bike races and scored a win on Sunday.
“That was fun. It was the first time I’ve won a biker race in awhile.” said Page who has been well-received by the Utah racing community. “It was good, very fun. People are very enthusiastic here. It’s been more than fun, I met a few more people last night.”
He added with a laugh an anecdote about one of the races. “The guy said oh yeah so we have a cyclocross star with us. (I said) but yeah that’s great but I just took the bike out of the box, I’ve never ridden it and it’s my first time on a 29er so don’t be afraid just don’t go behind me.”
There’s more mountain bike and road racing in his near future. Page will compete at the USA Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho this weekend and then hit Superweek in the Midwest.
Does he think he can surprise this weekend? “I hope so, that’s the plan.” he replied with a laugh, “That’s my theory, we’ll see.”