This article originally published on BikeRadar
Jonathan Page (Fuji/Spy/Competitive Cyclist) enjoys several privileges as the reigning US national cyclo-cross champion – among them being able to rightfully dress both himself and his bikes up in red, white, and blue for a year. Bike sponsor Fuji has gone a step further, however, by providing him with custom frames, too.
Bike sponsor Fuji has several cyclo-cross bikes in its lineup but all of its top-end models are disc-only. As is the case with most Europe-based racers, Page still prefers to use cantilever brakes so Fuji borrowed the carbon composite construction of the flagship frames and applied to the older cantilever-specific mold.
"We custom designed a frame for Jonathan that utilizes our Altamira CX 1.1 top-level c10 carbon but accepts cantilever brakes, whereas our 2014 Altamira CX lineup features only disc-specific frames," said Fuji marketing communications manager Stephanie Genuardi. "Due to the level of carbon, we designate Jonathan’s frameset as a 1.1."
Shimano fills out most of the build kit with Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical groups, CX70 cantilever brakes, C35 carbon tubular wheels, and cockpit components by PRO. Page apparently sources his own pedals, however, – they're old Shimano PD-M959s – and Challenge supplies a small army of Team Edition tubular tires built with supple cotton casings instead of the more durable but stiffer polyester ones consumers normally see.
Total weight as pictured is 7.88kg (17.37lb).
"Challenge has done a really good job of developing a tire that's one of the best out there right now," Page said. "They're just more supple so you can really feel the ground and you don't have to worry about pinch flatting. I brought three [treads]: the Limus for the mud, the standard Grifo all-rounder, and the Chicane. Those are the American special so you've got to have those in the arsenal."
While many riders would be averse to thrashing such pretty bikes in day in, day out racing, Page's machines are subjected to unspeakable abuses during a messy, Belgium-based season. In fact, Page had just wrapped up a grueling week of wet racing over the holidays and with just six days to go before nationals, his gear was in less-than-optimal condition.
Three Fuji Altamira framesets and two sets of wheels were stuffed into a soft-sided double bike bag and two more wheelsets were packed into a single bike bag – along with all of his other gear filling up the interstices as best he could.
"I did a bunch of racing right before I came and just threw my bicycles in the bag," he told BikeRadar. "I found out some cables are bad – it's the usual maintenance things. You wear through things because you're riding through dirt and mud."
We noticed that it wasn't just cables and housing that needed attention, either. Belgium's gritty soil and the tough conditions that week meant that his Shimano Dura-Ace C35 carbon tubulars also took a serious beating. While they were still straight and true, the braking surfaces were noticeably worn all around and replacement sets hadn't yet arrived from Shimano.
"Those wheels aren't very old and the tires aren't very old! I glued those tires during the Christmas series. Those bicycles go through a lot of punishment. You can ride [in the US] and pretty much have a brand new bicycle at the end of the season. I have to switch a lot of stuff, from pulley wheels, to chainrings, to chains, wheels, obviously tires. Cyclo-cross is a complete logistical nightmare."
Even with a stacked to-do list, Page said he was calm and confident heading into the weekend as the defending champion despite a rough season filled with injury and illness – aided by a few key US-based friends that provide critical support. A recent heavy snowfall and subsequent warming could possibly play into his hopes for ultra-muddy conditions, too.
"To say that I've had a bumpy road coming here would be an understatement," he said. "Right now I'm pretty happy with how I'm recovering and feeling. I fell down really hard, I re-broke two ribs, and I got sick but I kept racing through the Christmas series to build some fitness. It's never easy when you live in Europe all the time but this season has taken the cake. I would just like to have a wonderful ride on Sunday for all of the people that have put so much time and effort into what I'm doing."
"I feel pretty confident in the whole bit – but it doesn't really matter until you cross the line."
Rather than just slap numbers on his bikes to keep them straight, Jonathan Page (Fuji/Spy) has instead named them Emma, Milo, and Pearl after his three children