Cyclocross

Interview: Jonathan Page on Retirement, Devo Team and Returning to New England – Cyclocross Magazine

Since his retirement following Reno Nationals in January of 2018, Jonathan Page, four-time National Champion and the only American to ever stand on an Elite Men’s Cyclocross World Championship podium, has been his typical self. Not drawing attention to himself, not engaged with social media and focused on his family.

Yet Page never really left the sport of cyclocross. After leaving the racing scene, Page joined Dugast, makers of premium tubular tires, to help the brand establish distribution in the United States, but he has remained out of the limelight even when new treads caught our spotlight. That was about to change for a brief moment, but then a global pandemic hit.

We caught up with him on two separate occasions, while he was chasing kids and on a ladder inspecting rotten boards, to see how retirement is treating the most decorated male racer in American cyclocross.

Cyclocross Magazine: Since Reno, we haven’t talked about much besides tires. How have you been?

Jonathan Page: Busy but good. Things are never quiet with “The Page Circus.”

CXM: You started importing Dugast tires after retirement. How is that going?

JP: It’s been awesome. I took the whole family to visit Dugast last summer. They are the kindest people and they really put their hearts into making Dugast tires. I’m proud to be a small part.

CXM: You announced earlier this year that you and Frankie Van Haesebroucke would be teaming up again to start a junior race team, called the Page Development Team, part of your Page CX Project. You told us about the plan at Nationals in Reno. Pre-pandemic, it seemed like it was happening. What started that idea, and how is the project going?

JP: We talked probably the last five years of my Euro career about doing this. We both have a passion for cyclocross and plenty of knowledge between the two of us. It was going well but of course, like most things these days, it is on hold.

CXM: What type of sponsors do you have lined up, and what do you still need?

JP: Through almost my entire career, I rode Shimano. They have continued to support me and enthusiastically became part of our project. They will be a major sponsor. I’m thankful for all their support through the years.

Jonathan Page rode into the top ten during his last race as a professional. 2018 Reno Cyclocross National Championships. © J. Vander Stucken / Cyclocross Magazine

We have most of our equipment sorted out and some of the cash needed too. We had quite a few meetings lined up in both Europe and the States and we were hopeful that we would get the rest of the financial backing we needed. We will see when racing resumes and the economy and communities recover.

CXM: Will the pandemic just delay the team plans, or does it put the whole thing at risk?

JP: We hope it just delays but I suppose you never know these days.

CXM: How is the current crisis affecting you personally? There’s no racing so the demand for tires must be down, have your other projects been impacted?

JP: School for four was a challenge. Junior National Nordic Ski Championships were canceled mid-way through for my daughter. I am not selling as many tires and did not have as much work for a while. Those were the negatives. I got to spend a lot more time than usual with my family. We went backpacking and camping, slot canyoning, skiing, biking, roller skiing. There were definite positives!

CXM: At last check, you were working as a bellhop, is that still on your agenda?

JP: I was doing that part-time for ski passes for the family at Vail. This year I was public safety once per week. It’s great. I like it. And the free passes are an awesome perk.

“I got to spend a lot more time than usual with my family. We went backpacking and camping, slot canyoning, skiing, biking, roller skiing. There were definite positives!” -Jonathan Page

CXM: What is riding like in retirement? Still getting out?

JP: Definitely less but yes, still getting out. It’s nice to ride just to ride. No pressure. I’m going to start going out a lot more because I’ll be coaching this summer and fall! I can’t wait!

CXM: What keeps you active other than bikes? There’s plenty to do outside in Utah.

JP: I am currently in Park City, Utah but am moving to Vermont this summer. I trail run, nordic ski, alpine ski, roller ski, hike, backpack, and generally chase after my kids. I also do spring and fall yard clean-up, and a fair amount of physically demanding handyman work.

CXM: You’re returning to your New England roots! Why Vermont?

JP: Family, a positive environment, ski team for kids, and the cycling community. Plus, kids learn to be hard in the [Vermont] environment. Utah is too sunny!

CXM: You have a location or job planned out?

JP: It’s like going home. It’s been a long time. I’ll be a coach for Stowe Mountain Bike Academy. I’ll also be a handyman and property manager guy, like I [am] here.

“Family, a positive environment, ski team for kids, and the cycling community. Plus, kids learn to be hard in the [Vermont] environment. Utah is too sunny!” -Jonathan Page

CXM: Have you kept an eye on cyclocross since you retired? What do you make of the scene right now?

JP: Not a whole lot, actually.

Jonathan Page is transitioning from his long, storied career as a cyclocross pro to managing a development team. photo: 2008 Nationals in Kansas City. © Cyclocross Magazine

CXM: On that note, Gage Hecht reminds us a little of you. You both started winning at a young age with success in multiple disciplines. What do you think the future holds for him?

JP: I really don’t know. I’ve heard he’s a nice guy but I don’t really know him. When we get our team going, maybe I’ll meet and get to know him.

CXM: Any predictions for racing in 2020, assuming there is such a thing?

JP: There will be! I’ll have to let you know when I’ve had time to do some research again.

CXM: Van der Poel’s team management has assembled a super team of women ’cross racers with intent to race road. As a multi-discipline racer who knows how European racing works, what are your thoughts on the move?

JP: I think it all depends on the management, coaches, and team atmosphere. Racing on the road was a necessary part of my preparation for ’cross but “havin’ fun is number one”, ya know? Franky and I intend to keep our team together on the road, too.

CXM: Thanks for the time, and good luck with the move!

JP: Thank you!