By Kirsten Robbins
One man who wouldn't have enjoyed the final round of the North American Cyclo-Cross Trophy (NACT) last weekend was Cyclocrossworld.com's Tim Johnson. A knee injury knocked the reigning US national champion off the USGP pedestal in the previous weekend's Mercer Cup and left him unable to contend the NACT series decider held in Southampton this weekend.
"Getting the USGP leader's jersey on Saturday and not being able to start on Sunday was brutal," Johnson told Cyclingnews. "Not racing was one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my cycling career. In terms of the NACT, I definitely would have given Ryan [Trebon] a good run for his money and I was confident that I would have been able to win this series too. I missed three C1's – all good races and good prize money."
The doctors original prognosis was that of a torn bursa on the top of his knee cap, nothing that a few days of bed rest could not heal. However, upon a second check up later in the week, it was determined that the damage done to his bursa was not the only issue.
"I had an MRI and it showed a severe bone bruise at the end of my femur and patella," Johnson said. "There's nothing that can be done about it except to let it heal. It's a matter of handling the pain. I thought I could handle a lot of pain but this hurts like hell. Racing cross means getting off the bike, running, getting over barriers and being dynamic and I just couldn't do it."
According to Johnson there is no long term damage and the injury has gotten much better after taking seven days of rest. He is hoping to be back in full force before the final USGP in Portland. "All I can do is be positive," Johnson said. "I have to do the work to recover and I'm lucky that I have good people to rely on for advice and I'll be fine."
Johnson fell into a wooden course stake and injured his knee while on his way to a solo victory and the USGP lead in last weekend's USGP round, the Mercer Cup in West Windsor, New Jersey. He was forced to give it up his leading role, unable to start the second day's event.
"It definitely sucks but it's not all doom and gloom," Johnson continued. "Having a long road season and then going straight into cyclo-cross means I don't normally get a lot or rest or recovery. I'm always running a little fatigued. I'll have the week off now then getting in some good training rides before Portland and nationals – I'm confident I will have some good rides in those races."