To some, Tim Johnson might seem like an aging Wild West gunslinger, having lost count of the adversaries he’s dispatched on dusty streets, but still with keen reflexes and a few rounds left in his six-shooter.
To others, he might be more like NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, superstars who might be past their prime, but still have enough talent to lead their teams back to the Promised Land. At 36, Johnson understands he has fewer years ahead of him than behind in the rough-and-tumble bike racing discipline of cyclocross.
But the Beverly resident says he’s not ready to pack it in just yet.
“I feel like I know how to drive it,” said Johnson. “I know how to use what I have.”
Stu Thorne, the owner of Pinnacle Bikes in Beverly and owner of Johnson’s professional team, Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com, agrees. “He’s accomplished a lot, but honestly, I think there’s always a little bit more in there, somewhere,” he said. “It’s a matter of tweaking this or that to find it. But I think there’s more there. There’s a couple of good years there for sure for Tim Johnson. I don’t think he’s reached his potential. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I just think there’s a little more in there that he can do to win another championship or win a few more races.”
“He’s got a ton of natural ability,” said Thorne. “He does have an engine, but that engine is no different from a Formula 1 engine. It still needs to be worked on, it still needs to be tuned up. But there is an engine there.”
It was Thorne, in 1995, who first took Johnson under his wing, introducing him to cyclocross when the Middleton native was a teenage mountain bike sensation.