Final season in Belgium for US champion?
What a difference a year makes. At the start of the 2012-2013 cyclo-cross season Jonathan Page was in search of a title sponsor and dealing with the stress of setting up a new home in Utah. After winning the 2013 US national cyclo-cross championship in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 13, Page was visibly relieved and the victory led to a three-year deal with bike manufacturer Fuji. The new relationship has energized Page to take his family back over to Belgium for another European cyclo-cross season.
Page is a pragmatic man. A no-nonsense, New England work ethic is deeply ingrained in his personality, and his fourth national championship did not leave much time for celebration. "It's nice, but I had to get back to work, and get the good results again," said Page about his championship win. "In Belgium, you are only as good as your last bike race, and if you didn't do that well then you got problems."
After setting up his Utah house in the summer of 2012, Page returned with his family for an extended US stay last March. After living the last several months in the US, and due to his strong American sponsorships, Page is starting to look at relocating to the US full-time.
"I'm considering, strongly considering, coming back and racing in the United States," said Page. "My sponsors have been very supportive of me regardless of what I'm going to do, so that feels very good."
In addition to training, and continued work on his home in Utah, Page spent time over the summer working with Fuji on their next generation of cyclo-cross bikes. "It's fun to be part of developing another cyclo-cross bike for next season and putting my two cents in so they [Fuji] can run with it," said Page. "It's fun to be a part of it, have somebody that listens to you and apply what I've told them into numbers."
At 37, Page is one of the veteran riders of the professional cyclo-cross circuit. He's been at the forefront of the sport's growth and seen trends come and go. While he's still getting used to disc brakes, he's a surprisingly strong advocate of electronic shifting due to the extra braking power and ease of use when packing bikes for races.
"Push a button and it goes," said Page about his Shimano electronic shifting. "When your hands are frozen the braking power is more, regardless of what kind of disc brake or cantilever brake, because the lever doesn't move. You can just grab them so you have this 'holy cow' brake system."
With his Fuji contract in place Page can now focus on the things he values most, like racing and providing for his family. "There is a lot more to my day than just racing. Honestly, sometimes racing is the easiest part," said Page as he reflected on his day job. "I have to deal with other things in life, juggling two different continents, and things like that. I'm going to give it one last go here in Belgium and see how it goes again."
Page has already completed three weekends worth of racing in Europe, with this best result thus far a 10th place finish at the C2-rated Crossquer in Dielsdorf, Switzerland on October 6. This coming weekend Page will be the lone US representative in the elite men's race at the opening 'cross World Cup round in Valkenburg, the Netherlands.
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