Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Photo Montage from China

As previously promised, here's the photographic evidence from my trip to China. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CrossVegas ---> Beijing, China

That's right, my most recent adventure had me traveling from the plains of the Midwest to the desert oasis of Las Vegas, NV for my the first 'cross race of the year with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team. I was there ONE whole day before boarding a plane on Thursday morning bound for the other side of the world. I lost a day, arriving in Beijing, China on Friday afternoon for the country's first UCI cyclo-cross race. Here is a brief recap, and some fun stories from along the way!

CrossVegas under the lights

My time in Vegas was a whirlwind. Even though I was only there for a short time, I accomplished a lot, taking advantage of the many hours the day has to offer and not sleeping - the typical lifestyle there. It was great to meet my teammates on Wednesday while we dialed our bikes in and took some photos. We did this in the earlier part of the day to allow for a bit of downtime before racing that evening. 

Riding down "the strip" to the hotel with AC

The venue is a soccer complex, one of the only open spaces in the area with enough grass to host a bike meet on. When we arrived at the start of the evening things were starting to buzz. There were a few races that happened earlier in the day that finished up as things were starting "heat up" (figuratively). Thankfully for us, the actual temperature was cooling down as we neared the races: Wheelers&Dealers, UCI Elite Women, followed my the UCI Elite Men. 

The team setup was dialed

After spinning the legs, I did a couple laps on the course at race speed to fire up the legs and figure out the lines to take in the race. While I completed these laps, I saw the sea of people that had made their way out to watch the race, it was exciting to see! During the call-ups, I realized that I was about to start my first race 'cross race since U23 Worlds in Louisville, and with that realization I knew suffering would ensue. 

The race: I had a solid start, maintaining position while waiting for things to settle down a bit. In the second lap I was charging hard to work up to the front group, which was within reach. At this point I was redlining, so I backed off to get into a rhythm. This paid off, because I was able catch a handful of guys that were dropped by the lead chase group of 8+ riders. The group I was racing with ended up five strong (myself included) before finishing up. In the final lap, the group was still together when Yannick Eckmann attacked with a half lap to go. I followed. He held me off, taking 12th, with your truly in 13th. 

Coming into the race, I felt good with how my training had been in preparation for the season. My result was a great indicator that I'm on the right track this season. This is give me motivation to keep working hard toward my goals for this year. 

Once the race concluded, I was fortunate enough to see a whole slew of people that I knew, as well as having the opportunity to meet a bunch of new folks. Having so many people that are friends who support me at the race, really made the experience that much more memorable. 

Fast forward to the next day: 
Wait, where are we now, you ask... I had hoped you wouldn't, because we're now on a plane, a plane en route to China. After a lengthy rest of an hour, I was up and off to the airport to begin phase 2 of my trip. I wasn't alone in my venture, there two super cool people from CX Magazine (Andrew Yee & Molly Hurford), along with four other US riders.

Now that I've sparked your interest, I'll stop and save the rest of this my trips stories for another time.
Thanks for reading!

If there's been anyone who checked for updates over the summer, I do apologize for my posting hiatus.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


It's here! I know this is long overdue, but here's an article I had the chance to put together for CX Magazine detailing my World Championship race experience.

Click the photo above to view the readable version. 

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to receive dedicated cyclocross coverage, consider subscribing to CX Magazine (offered in Print or Digital).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Q&A for the local VeloClub

I was asked to answer some questions for a column in the 3 RiversVeloSport Club monthly newsletter. I thought I'd share it here as well. 

How did you get started?
I began cycling with my dad seven years ago. The riding we did was mostly on the river greenway, urban exploring around town, and the occasional jaunt into the corn fields for a longer ride. After a bit of time, we linked up with Phil Snider and the rest of the “fat tire crew” for the club's Thursday night urban/off-road rides. I eventually joined a local team, began racing, and have become fully immersed in the sport.

What’s a typical week of training like?
My training schedule fluctuates throughout the year depending on the discipline I'm racing at the time. In the spring I'm usually on my road bike putting in longer rides at a lower intensity. After a month or two of less structured training, I begin to decrease the quantity of hours and increase the quality of training, mixing in specific intervals intended to bring me into race form. In the summer I work to build and maintain fitness throughout the remainder of the road season. Late summer/early fall, I transition into cyclocross training which consists of trail riding, cyclocross drills and workouts and, of course, racing!

What do you like about what you do?
I enjoy being able to compete in multiple disciplines, each presenting specific challenges and having their own unique flow. Coming from an off-road background, I was able to develop and hone my skills in Mtb and CX racing. This past year I signed with Bissell-ABG-Giant and raced a full road schedule regionally and nationally. The road has presented me with a fresh new challenge of having to learn the tactics, find my own style of racing, and find new ways to improve.

What is most challenging about what you do?
Some of the challenges I encounter is finding the balance between the multiple cycling disciplines I compete in. I want to do them all well all the time, but there are periods in the season when I have to take a break and it affects me in the short-term... It's important for me to remember my goals for the entire season and beyond!

What advice would you offer someone considering getting into racing?
When I got into cycling, I did it for the enjoyment I got out of riding my bike. I still receive a great level of enjoyment and satisfaction from riding, although it comes from different factors other than just riding. KEEP IT FUN!

What is most rewarding?
More recently I began setting specific goals for myself on and off the bike. I have found this to be incredibly motivating and the results have been very positive. I would highly recommend someone who is looking to improve and track their progress to write down some of their goals, hopes and dreams. It's a simple thing, but it can be very rewarding.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?
My goals are to continue to improve myself and find ways in which I can take my racing career to the next level. I have aspirations to race professionally and I am actively pursuing that dream while also receiving an education at Marian University.

ALSO: I know it's long overdue, but look for a reflection article I wrote for CXMagazine on my Worlds experience to appear in the next couple of weeks!

Thanks for reading!

-Josh Johnson

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Louisville 2013 Media

A bit of media coverage from the World Championship race. There's an article, post-race interview, and two videos with some race footage.

Prior to Worlds a local Fort Wayne newspaper did an article on my experience: 
Cold spells don’t chill cyclist’s dream

Post-race interview. I had no idea there was mud on my 'grill' until I watched the video.

Watch more video of 2013 Cyclocross World Championships on cyclingdirt.org

2013 UCI World Cyclocross Championships from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for more updates, including a write-up and some photos from the race!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Louisville 2013 TV and Internet Broadcast Schedule

The World Championship races will be streaming live via the UCI youtube channel - see attached link for all the details, including the times! The U23 race will be on Saturday at 2:30 EST.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Power of Dreams

I think it's valuable to dream and strive for goals that you can work toward in both short and long-term time frames. We each have different goals that we try to achieve in our personal/professional lives and for those of us who ride, goals within cycling that we work towards.

Three years ago traveling home from a 'cross race, Nicole Borem and I discussed the announcement that the 2013 Cyclo-Cross World Championships would be held in Louisville, KY. Our conversation sparked a dream - That dream was to race the biggest race in cyclocross that would be coming into the US for the first time in the history of the sport.

At the time it was long-term goal. As time has progressed, I have gained more knowledge, strength, and opportunities to prove myself in cycling, specifically in 'cross. These experiences have prepared me to race at a competitive level nationally allowing the chance to compete internationally. As the 2012/13 season unfolded, I began realize that my dream had the potential to become reality.

Many of you know that I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to race in Belgium as a part of the EuroCrossCamp program. This offered me a good chance to race with the best U23 riders in the world. It was also a solid block of racing to prepare me for Nationals.

During my mental preparation for Nationals I knew I would need to have solid races to successfully earn a spot on the Worlds Team. I was able to use what I learned at EXC to help me race in the muddy, sloppy conditions that we saw in the U23 race Saturday, finishing top 5. On Monday I received word that I had made the U23 squad!

I am a proud member of the Marian University Cycling Team. I believe in what the program stands for and promotes through racing. Dean Peterson, the head coach (my personal coach) has an incredible amount of vision for the team to continue to grow and develop for many years to come. It's pretty neat to be a part of a community of athletes who work hard in school and in cycling to achieve overall team success, as well as individual success. 

Marian will be sending three riders to Louisville 2013: Drew Dillman (Dizzle D), Kaitie Antonneau (Little Badger), and I (JoJoNoFingers). It’s super exciting to have three of us make the selection!

My trade team Bissell-ABG-Giant has played a huge role in my development on the road and they have given me the support to make this 'cross season by far my most successful! The other members of the the team have been supportive of my goals on the road, they have also offered their encouragement throughout the 'cross season. Our team director, Declan Doyle, has done a great job of making sure the details are taken care of so we can focus on racing bikes. 

I want to thank Dean and Declan for the coaching and mentoring they've provided me with during the last year and a half! 

Over the years my family has supported me as an individual, giving their support to whatever interest I was pursuing at the time. In my cycling, they've been supportive and understanding of the time commitment required to race and train at a high level. I couldn't do it without having their backing to accomplish the goals I am striving for. 

My girlfriend has been nothing but supportive of my cycling. I know it's hard on her when I leave different times in the summer to race, or when I was gone over the holidays racing. I'm thankful that she will be in Louisville cheering me on!

This past week (as you just read) I have reflected on my cycling career thus far and those who have invested and helped me reach success in the sport. Success can be defined merely by results, but to me it's more than that. It's one thing to ride a bike fast, it's another to ride fast and still value the importance of the people who make racing. It doesn't just happen. Cycling is a sport that requires a great deal of support... from family, friends, peers, and the list could go on. In addition to that, it's not inexpensive to race bicycles.

I choose the long-winded answer to convey the message that I'm thankful and blessed by all of you who are taking the time to read this right now, those who have invested time and effort into me as a person and as an athlete. You may never fully understand the impact you've had, but I can assure you that it has made a difference in my life.

I am very fortunate to have great support from companies who believe in what I'm doing. I would like to take a brief moment to recognize them for their efforts to help young riders continue to develop reach their potential.

Bissell is a longtime supporter and advocate of Professional cycling. They are locally stationed in the Midwest, basing their operations out of Grand Rapids, MI.
Giant Bicycles is a global company with the mission to promote health, wellness, and enjoyment through riding a bike. "Ride Life. Ride Giant"

SRAM offers quality bicycle components with a grassroots, close to home feel. Main HQ located in Chicago, ILL.
Zipp is located in Indianapolis, IN. They are dedicated to providing you with wheels and components that give you the technological advantage and confidence needed to perform at your maximum potential.
NUVO is another Indianapolis based company. They pride themselves in covering stories that are unique and interesting to read, time and time again.

Thanks for reading - See you in Louisville!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Here, There, & Everywhere In-between

The past few weeks have been a blur... I've been here, there, and everywhere in-between. I arrived back from Europe on the 2nd, was home for a week, then headed to Indy to meet up with the rest of the Marian Cycling crew to make the trip to Madison, WI to race in the ever changing conditions at Nationals. Now I'm back in Indy, Monday was the first day of this semesters classes.

My trip to EuroCrossCamp allowed me to learn and grow as an individual. I was able to be fully immersed in the Belgian 'cross culture, the "motherland" of cycling. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to push my limits on challenging course with death drops, steep run-ups, long muddy power sections. Many of the experiences were new, and pushed my comfort zone, which increased my skill-set, equipping me with the preparedness to face courses and conditions with more confidence.

I want to take a brief moment to thank Geoff Proctor for all that he's done over the last ten years to help the development of the sport. This year was the camp's tenth consecutive year running. That's ten Christmas' away from family and friends to help young up-and-coming riders have this wonderful experience. It's appreciated, Geoff!

For me personally, the camp fulfilled a goal I created a couple years ago as a young, naive rider to race in Europe with the Belgians. It has also led to the fulfillment of other goals I've set for myself (I'll touch on this in a future post).


After returning from CrossCamp, I took it easy, only incorporating a few hard efforts to keep my body primed and ready to go! The week leading into Nationals I had been feeling pretty tired (I think my body was still adjusting from the time change). I knew it'd be important to manage the amount of rest and recovery I was getting, especially the few days before the first race. That was my number one priority.

I was able to preview the course on Thursday afternoon. It felt good to get out in the fresh air after traveling all day and being cooped up in the bus. The course was almost identical to the layout of what we raced last year. The weather ended up creating similar course conditions both days (Saturday: U23; Sunday: Collegiate) too.

This year I was able to acquire enough UCI points to earn a front row spot. I was happy to have the start position I did, it allowed me to take third in the holeshot, setting me up to steer clear of traffic. After a quarter of a lap I found myself riding in fourth, I kept a steady pace and began to reel-in Drew and Skyler who were riding in 2nd and 3rd. It wasn't long after Drew dropped Skyler that I made contact with him and proceeded to push ahead to Drew. I eventually caught-up to Drew midway through the race, rode with him for a bit before he opened a gap on me. I continued to ride in my rhythm, finding smooth, fast lines. Tobin caught Skyler, and they both closed within a few seconds of me. Going into the last lap I pitted (it was so muddy most of us pitted every half lap!) and drilled it on the straight coming out of the pit and on the steep climb. This immediately opened a sizable gap, only to come crashing down when I hit and ice patch going into the backside stairs. I quickly got up and got going again still maintaining a slight advantage, but when I remounted I saw that my stem had gotten turned 45 degrees to the right. I managed to make it down the descent after the stairs and struggled around the next corner before I had to dismount and straighten my bars back to center. By this time both Tobin and Skyler had passed me and were rocketing away on the road climb. I did my best to chase them down, but the damage had been done. I rolled across the line with a solid ride landing me the last spot on the podium in 5th. I was pleased with my race, but disappointed with the last lap mishap.

My goal for the race was top 3. I had been riding there most of the race. That gave me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I had the ability and was carrying it out throughout the race.

Giving a few high-fives as I came through the finish area.

U23 Men's Podium

Cyclocross Magazine Report
Cyclingnews Report

D1 Collegiate:
Last year I stood on the podium with a 4th place finish. This year I was looking to improve on that and race for the win! Off the line I was third around the bend on the pavement start/finish straight, forging ahead around the turn I took the holeshot onto the frozen, rutted course. I knew the race would be fast due to the fast, frozen circuit. There was only one good line through most of the course making it hard for other riders to advance their placement. I led into lap two and was able to open a gap over Kerry Werner (Lees-McRae), working to increase my advantage. After the barriers I was going through a turn and slid-out, allowing Kerry to catch me and open a gap of his own. I was back on my bike quickly and chasing after him. I was steadily gaining ground on him, but had another mistake... I hit a rut wrong, launching me into a wooden stake and snowy bank. This really set back my chase efforts. I needed Kerry to make a similar mistake, or it wouldn't be any easy task to win the race. He didn't make the same mistakes I did and rode to the win. I maintained my position, and went on to finish 2nd, one spot away from the stars-and-bars.

My goal in the collegiate race was to put myself in a position to win the bike race. I did that. I knew whoever took the title would be the one who made the least mistakes, that was Kerry. He rode the race you have to in those conditions. I risked pushing the pace early, which narrowed the race at the front down to two riders. Unfortunately, I was the first one to make a mistake. Nice work, Kerry!

D1 men on the trying to stay warm on the start line.

Frozen ruts.

Werner & I battling early on in the race.

Rolling across the line in 2nd.

D1 Podium.

We successfully defended the title to claim Marian's 2nd consecutive overall D1 Collegiate Team National title in Cyclocross!

Cyclocross Magazine Report
Cyclingnews Report

Stay tuned for another update in a few days - Thanks for reading!