Johnny the Cyclist
Those of you who know about cycling will know about Johnny Hoogerland. He’s one of the toughest world tour level riders of recent years, with a reputation for riding strongly all day, all week, all tour long. He’s ridden in all weathers and in all terrains, like all pros, and he’s kept his engine moving though his mental toughness - the most famous example being during the 2011 TdF, when a car caused him to be thrown from the bike and into a barbed wire fence.
Many riders would have called it a day after such an event, but not this strong Dutchman. He simply got a new bike and allowed the doctors to treat him from a car as he continued riding. It typified this superb athlete, and it typified that mental strength that defines and separates people like Johnny. It’s not just ace genes for sport that they have, it’s also their mental resilience and willingness to go further - and go further he did, cementing his name in cycling folklore as one of the toughest of all, in a peloton filled with exceptional characters.
These days, Johnny lives with his wife and two young daughters, in the Austrian mountains, just 30 km over the border with Italy. It’s the heartland of hiking, biking, climbing and cycling in this part of Europe, and it allows Johnny and the family the opportunity to swim in a nearby mountain lake all summer long, spending that valuable family time with children that money simply cannot buy. Speaking to this relaxed Dutchman, it’s immediately clear where his priorities lie, and where his true passion is - it’s time in these mountains, not cycling, but time spent with his two girls and his wife, exploring the nearby landscape. For Johnny ‘wealth is freedom and time with our loved ones,’ and he’s so obviously at home in this new, post-peloton lifestyle.
Austrian Family Life
The family live on the edge of the large and well known, Lake Wörthesee, running a small hotel/ pension in the town of Velden on Wörthesse. It has 35 beds, usually filled with active people, here to explore the magical surrounding mountains. Whilst the pension and its guests require a lot of work and care from April to October, this post-cycling life also means that between 11am and 3pm daily, the family are more often found together outside, hiking or swimming in the lake, where the mountain streams that fill it are so pure that you can drink the water that flows down from the hills. Yes, he has to rise at 5.30 am to cater for the guests, but then he’s free and the time belongs to him - and of course, his family.
There’s actually nothing that Johnny really misses about his previous life in the peloton, saying that now “I have a quality of life, that is wonderful. I can spend time hiking with my girls, and that’s the best wealth we can have.” It’s a lesson that we can all learn and take something from in this current chaotic world.
A Passion for all Sports
Johnny is both relaxed about life these days and, at the same still passionate about sport - all kinds of sport. Living in Austria, he loves heading out on a winter ski mountaineering trip, saying how the activity is excellent for fitness too. And, in terms of his cycling, he still managed to cycle 27000 km last year - whilst running a busy pension in the mountains, being an active and involved father, and hiking too. Cycling is no longer the central theme in his life, but it is still there. Yes, he even has a great Wahoo setup at home, but when there’s ski mountaineering to be had, where would you rather be… for Johnny and for the family, it’s outside exploring the Austrian landscape together.
Happiness is... this
Best of all, this unique landscape provides a variety of options for Johnny when he does head out on the bike. If he turns left, he can cycle steeply uphill for 30 minutes or more; however, a turn right from home gives him an easier, flat ride, circumnavigating the lake and chilling with friends. During our chat, he says, ‘Now I enjoy cycling more, because it’s much more relaxed. I can enjoy it with friends - stop, relax, have a beer.’ It’s clear that Johnny is immensely happy here in the Austrian mountains, and simply chilling out, by the lake, wearing his Lake Cycling Shoes - pun def intended!
Johnny - Lake Ambassador & Friend
Johnny and Christian from Lake, have been friends for many years - since he first wore Lake shoes as a pro. He’s worn our Lake Cycling shoes ever since, and he became a brand ambassador for us, when he retired from the peloton in 2016. His current favourite road cycling shoe is the CX 302 road cycling shoe, which he describes as being super comfortable, extremely light, and being a good fit, due to the two BOA fastenings. He’s currently riding with a former colleague and friend, in Dubai, enjoying a warm break from the Austrian winter. However, he’ll soon be back in the mountains, and spending as much time as possible being an active and involved father to his daughters, enjoying the closed season time away from the pension guests.
Yes, despite being from one of the flattest countries in Europe, Johnny has clearly settled in to life in Austria, and is now so obviously, not only a mountain of a man on the bike, but also an actual mountain man off it - running Pension Hoogerland here in the hills, and being home as often as possible, sharing priceless time with loved ones.