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A Work in Progress

This week during the Ride on Chicago we met Richard Fries, a journalist, race announcer, advisor to PeopleForBikes and self-proclaimed cycling evangelist.

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Tim Johnson, Why Do You Ride?

Strava Pro, cyclocross National Champion, PeopleforBikes advocate and the fearless leader of the Ride on Chicago answers a simple question for us: Why do you ride bikes?

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Ride Studio Cafe-31
Ride Studio Cafe-31

Aren’t We All People For Bikes?

As cycling continues to grow as a sport and means of transportation, Strava wants to help ensure that the support and infrastructure does too. We are working together with PeopleForBikes to just that.

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Get to know Tim Johnson

With the Cannondale Oktoberfest Challenge set to wrap up this Saturday, November 10, we thought you could use an extra bit of motivation to push through those last few hours.  With that in mind we reached out to the man behind the challenge, Tim Johnson, for a bit of insight and inspiration.  That was the goal, here are the results:

Strava: How’s it going? Where are you right now?
Tim: Finally home in Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA. That last trip kept going on and on and on…

Strava: What bike are you riding? Any tips for keeping a bike working well in rough weather?
Tim: I’m on my Cannondale SuperSix EVO right now. We left a couple SuperX cross bikes in Europe for the upcoming trip in December and my others are on the truck right now. Pushing the 53t instead of the 46t chainring!

Strava: Talk about preparing for ‘Cross season – what’s your training like? How is it different or similar to training for a road or mountain bike season?
Tim: Most of the prep for CX comes before the season starts. We travel and race so often that it’s very hard to make gains in training once the circus starts up. As opposed to a MTB race or even road race – we have to fit a Friday flight, course recon and 2 races into a weekend and then jump back on a plane Monday morning. Truly a busy schedule.

Strava: So 60 hours in 3 weeks is a lot! How does that break down for you this time of year?
Tim: 60 hours IS a lot…when we were planning for this Challenge I was thinking that the 60 hours would be a combination of on the bike work, running, and the unavoidable trainer workouts that come into play with bad weather.  At any race day we’re doing almost 4 hours of ride time in some cases.

Strava: What else are you doing off the bike to make sure you’re successful on the bike?
Tim: Nutrition is important to keep it all going. We’re stripping our bodies of everything for that 1hr of high-intensity work, so it’s key to replace it or keep it topped up as best as you can. Bodywork (massage, PT and manual therapy) are called in because of the odd, repetitive motions that we’re doing with dismounts and remounts.

Strava: Any tips for Strava Challenge participants on how to maximize training time (and rack up the hours during the challenge)?
Tim: That’s a question for me to ask them…spinning through the discussion page always amazes me at the time and energy people have to put into their riding with work, family and other obligations. I’d say that the recreational or enthusiast type rider is the person whose brain needs to be picked!

Strava: Cross is known for harsh conditions, what are your favorite conditions to race in?
Tim: I like a nice mud race. It’s always a blast to get out there and be slip-sliding all around. This year has been a wet one so far. Some years we’re dry and dusty, but this year seems to be harking back to the days of old.

Strava:  What are your thoughts on UCI Cyclocross World Championships being in US for the first time?  Does it tip the scales to an American taking the top spot on the podium?
Tim: It’s an amazing opportunity and something that could really be a once a career event for US riders. Although I hope not. The course in Louisville is very typically American with tight corners, short transitions and the only real question mark is the weather. That time of year could have 60degree days or 15F and an ice-storm. Pretty dynamic and I hope that leaves us relaxed while the foreign riders have to do some real questioning of their equipment and course-knowledge – for once!

Strava: Let’s talk about Suffering. Why is Cross such a suffer-fest?
Tim: I was waiting to get that question…there are a few riders in the top-100 that have a suffer score that’s reasonably high but there are a few way, way back in the standings that will rocket to the top when we’re done with the Challenge. CX is inherently painful, it’s just wether or not you’re for it – or if you’re having so much fun that you’re completely distracted and don’t notice!

Strava: Ok, last one, what’s the highest suffer score you’ve ever had?
Tim: Uh, let me look…pretty high I’d say. I’ve had a few Epic’s…is there anything higher?

Lightning Round!

First bike? Dukes of Hazard
Current bike? Cannondale SuperX Disc
Favorite bike? Lemond Tete de Course or SuperSix EVO.
Dream bike? Call me crazy but I’ve been looking at those Beloved fender’d bike bikes…
Gels or bars? Rice cakes
Booties or no booties? Booties
Climbing or descending? Climbing
Embrocation or leg warmers? Embro
Fenders in the rain? Amen
CO2 or frame pump? Frame Pump!!
Tubes or tubulars? Both…
Dream ride? Great Ocean Road (w/no traffic) or credit card touring through Central Europe
Dream meal? Since I missed the tasting menu at Il Bulli, I’ll have to make do with a slice walking the streets of Manhattan.
Dream date? Busy later, Jordan? (Who’s Jordan you ask, http://app.strava.com/athletes/30)

Tim's Tips for the Cannondale Oktoberfest Challenge


Photo: BrakeThrough Media

Have you joined Cannondale’s Oktoberfest with Tim Johnson Challenge? Are you wondering how in the world you’re possibly going to get all those hours in over the next three weeks?

Tim took a second between races to share a few CX-themed tips for you:

  • CX season is all about using the fitness you’ve built during the spring and summer the right way – make it last! If intervals aren’t your thing then don’t sweat it. Bail on the workout and go cruise into (and through) your local trails. CX bikes are meant to be ridden all over.
  • Bring a real pump (not just CO2’s). You want to have high pressure for the road on a CX bike, but also may want to let some air out for the dirt/gravel/grass/mud you know you’re going to encounter. It only takes a second and can be the difference between liking it and loving it.
  • Looking for an extra chunk of time before the time change? Extend your commuting route to include the path/trail/park/dirt road that MIGHT bring you back out at that road; You know, that road…the one you want to be on to get home… eventually.
  • The difference between a CX bike and a road bike is this: a road bike is made for speed and distance. A CX bike is made for speed and discovery. Discovery of a place, a mindset or a pain level! Don’t let me scare you!

– Tim

We’ve had some solid rides already over the weekend, with over 15,000 hours already logged! What’s your plan for getting the hours in? Cramming some big rides on the weekends? Upping the number of rides per week? Both? Let us know your plans in the comments below!