It wasn't quite what she -- or her parents -- imagined, though.
"I was a bike messenger," she said. "I had to ride all day, every day. I took it as an opportunity. I didn't take it super, super seriously, but I did find that I have this love for cycling, as well.
"It was kind of a fun way to make the transition to cycling."
Years later, she has turned that love into a passion. Today through Saturday, Johnson is competing at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota. The Grand Prix is a five-day stage race pitting some of the top racers in the country in a team-oriented format.
"It's really cool because we're all here for this common goal to race together as a team and get good results, individually as well as team," she said.
Johnson, 35, has put up some very good results of her own since discovering her love for cycling. Most recently, she won the Superior Morgul Road Race last month.
While attending CU, Johnson was inspired by a friend and got into running.
"I set out seeing if I could just really get healthy again and I fell in love with running long distances," she said. "I would go running for like four hours a day. It was great for my mind."
It wasn't long before Johnson began thriving on the competition of running. She competed in long-distance races, and qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Soon after that, she got her job as a bike messenger.
"Once I started doing road races and doing well in them, I was like, 'This is totally for me,'" she said.
Johnson keeps herself busy with work. She's involved with software sales and web design. Her cycling career has not taken a back seat, though.
"The past few years I've dedicated more time to racing my bike and put more focus into it," she said.
Renowned cycling coach Colby Pearce has worked with Johnson to improve her craft, and she's excited about the progress she has made during her short career.
"I've been racing for years and I've been racing roads seriously for like the past three years," she said. "Just a lot of training and focus. I worked on developing myself. I've always been an endurance kind of athlete, but I've worked really hard on improving my skills for (criteriums) and getting the pacing right for time trials. You can be as strong as you can be with cycling, but you've got to put the skills with the strength to make it all come together. That's a lot of what I've been working on."
At 35, she's a bit older than other racers that are early in their career, but whether it's her intense training or her vegan diet, Johnson doesn't feel her age.
"I'm feeling good, so I can't complain," said Johnson, who is sponsored by Panache Cyclewear.
As for this week, Johnson's competitive juices will certainly flow.
"I think the competition is going to be tough, so I don't know if a win is probable, but I always like to surprise myself," she said. "I like reaching for lofty goals.
"The competitor in me is like, 'I want to win.' The realistic side of me is like, 'Hey, you've got to be happy with improving and getting in the top 10 would be awesome.'"
Follow Johnson this week on Twitter: @catnipp1