Hot and cold, those words or similar were uttered many times while describing Tim Johnson‘s weekend at the USGP Mercy City Cup but Johnson doesn’t see it that way.
“I got second yesterday.” said Johnson after his win on Sunday. In Saturday’s race, the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider finished second to KONA’s Ryan Trebon in a muddy race. “But I have to take that with a huge grain of salt, it’s a bike race you know. ” said Johnson after his win on Sunday.”
Johnson nodded when I added somebody has to win and somebody has to finish second.
“Yesterday, I didn’t win and today I tried my best to win just as I did yesterday and it worked out today.” said Johnson. “A hot and a cold day … yesterday I thought I had a good ride, it’s just that Ryan had a great ride and he beat me. But I don’t know, I’m one of those guys that’s more consistent throughout the year and that’s why I like the NACT or the USGP series title that I’m in the running for.”
So maybe not hot and cold, but Johnson does seem to get stronger the second day – and it’s all in his head.
“It’s not so much how your legs are doing, it’s how you head is doing.” explained Johnson about double weekends. “If you can wake up in the morning and just be ready to suffer because everybody did the same race yesterday, everybody went just as hard and everybody’s legs should be feeling about the same. If you don’t give in into that then you have every chance in beating somebody who gives up before the race even starts.”
Since his return from a shoulder injury early this season, Johnson has split two other weekends, at Gloucester and at USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville. Both times, Johnson has taken the win on the Sunday after finishing close the day before, but he’s also swept other weekends, such as the NACT in Colorado and the Providence Festival of Cyclocross.
“I’ve been first or second twelve times and one fourth.” said Johnson about his year so far.
In Sunday’s race, Johnson made his move after a fast to power away from the field on the first lap.
So what’s sweeter, winning with a big lead or fighting until the end? “It’s just different because when you have a big lead you know hopefully you can imagine yourself winning longer but when it’s like all of sudden you win, all that energy comes at once and all the emotions. It’s a very difficult question to answer because what’s the difference, you’re winning.”
The solo wins seem to be a frequent occurrence this year as Johnson powered away in Louisville and at Boulder Cup and Blue Sky Velo races. As a novice to cross, I expressed my surprise at how many races seem to be won on a long solo move.
“When it’s chaotic like that and you get a gap,” said Johnson who went hard from the start of Sunday’s race when he saw Trebon had a bad start, ” it’s worth a lot because then I can slow down and keep going lap after lap after lap and they all have to go faster to try and catch me. If we all started together all at once then it would take longer for the race to play out but because there’s just boom, boom, boom at the start, then it’s a solo thing. But it’s not normal, Katerina [Nash] is killing everyone so that’s different, it hasn’t always been like that, it’s just circumstancial.”
Johnson will defend his NACT lead this weekend at the Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup in Southampton NY, and then all eyes will turn to Oregon with the finale of the USGP in Portland followed by the US Cross Nationals in Bend.
“As far as Nationals go, as long as I stay healthy, and consistent and good mindset that I think I should have a shot at winning.”