U.S. Olympic mountain biker and Exeter native Adam Craig will be sidelined until late spring after undergoing surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The 28-year-old Craig injured the knee when he slipped during what he described as “a brisk walk in a slick parking lot” in Bend, Ore., where he now resides.
Surgery subsequently was performed by Bend orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael G. Ryan on Feb. 9.
“I’m looking at not being able to ride a mountain bike in any remotely risky environment for four months from the date of surgery,” wrote Craig in his blog, where he announced his injury on Monday.
Craig is now off crutches and currently is undergoing physical therapy and riding a stationary bike. He expects to be able to begin road cycling in the next week.
“At least there’s daily progress at this point,” Craig wrote. “I hear things plateau at about a month when you appear to be back to normal but still have a ticking bomb in your knee. We’ll see how that goes.”
The Dexter Regional High School graduate, who represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, currently is ranked 25th worldwide in the International Cycling Union’s cross country mountain bike point standings.
He has been the top-ranked American UCI rider for each of the past five years and has won 13 national mountain biking champions in various disciplines — including two U.S. elite men’s cross country titles in 2007 and 2008.
Ironically, his slip in the parking lot marks the first major injury for Craig, who when not competing on the mountain biking world stage enjoys such activities as whitewater kayaking, back-country skiing and rally car racing.
Craig, who competes on the UCI and American mountain bike circuits for Giant Bicycles and Rabobank, is expected to miss several stops on this year’s UCI World Cup tour, which begins in Yorkshire, England, in late April.
Craig hopes to be back near full strength by midsummer with an eye toward the UCI World Championships to be held on what he considers one of his home courses at Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, over Labor Day weekend.
Craig made his world championship debut the last time that event was held at Mont Sainte Anne as an 18-year-old in 1998, and he has had several of his best finishes in UCI World Cup events at that resort, located just northeast of Quebec City.
“Good thing world champs are at my beloved Mont St. Anne,” wrote Craig. “I’m already getting fired up about turning a third- or fourth-row start into a medal. And I damn well better if I want people to forget about this little hiccup.”