Giant rider Adam Craig has undoubtedly been one of the most
successful American cross country racers of the last decade. However,
for 2013 the Bend, OR based Craig is setting his sights on a new
discipline: enduro racing.
checked in with MTBRacenews.com recently to talk about the Enduro
World Series, Giant's new bikes, and arm wrestling Geoff Kabush.
MTBRacenews.com: So, first things
first, we haven't caught up with you since last summer. You had a
great fall racing cyclocross and Trans-Provence. What was the
highlight for you?
Craig: You included
both answers in the question on this one. Good work. Racing the
best riding of my life for a week at Trans Provence was the
highlight, and it so happens that riding 35 hours in a week on your
mountain bike, while racing a few times per day, is really good
training for cyclocross. Iíll be back to France this fall to get
in shape for cross season again. Hopefully it pans out.
MTBRacenews.com: There have been some
big changes to your racing program for 2013. Why the switch to enduro
racing? Will we see you lining up to any cross country races at all
Craig: Iíve been
going similar places and doing similar races since I was a teenager,
so with Enduro being the next big thing, and having the opportunity
to go different places with a proper mountain bike, I might as well
try it out! A bit of XC racing in the spring to give me a reason to
do some base training for the summer, but from here on out, itís
almost impossible to fit in any XC racing, even if I wanted to.
Which I sort of do, missing XC National Champs in PA this weekend
hurts a littleÖ
MTBRacenews.com: Are you disappointed
to have left XC racing on a low, by your standards, note last season?
Craig: All due
respect, Iíve had plenty of years of racing well up and down hills,
but those years seem to be gone by the wayside. My only regret isnít
having really figured out why that happened. Racing format and
intensity changes? Getting old and fat and slow? Not having the
fire it takes anymore? Hmm. Maybe itíll all come back around.
MTBRacenews.com: 2013 seems to be the
year of the Enduro here in the states. As someone who's been doing
these sorts of races for quite a few years now, what do you see as
the catalyst for the surge in popularity we're seeing in enduro this
Craig: Itís always
been awesome, people are just now figuring out how much so and, more
importantly, how to put on events.
MTBRacenews.com: Last year it seemed
like your fitness really came around during cross season. Will you
race a full cyclocross schedule again this season?
Looking forward to it, especially with our sweet new bike that has
"brakesĒ on it, and my new position, a 15mm lower seat and
shorter reach. Corners, watch out!
MTBRacenews.com: What do you think
about the Enduro World Series and the organization behind it?
Craig: Itís next
level stuff. Chris Ball has done a bang-up job of getting a crew
together who know, down to the last detail, how to put on an event
that showcases the best riding done by the best riders, all around
the world. Or at least Europe and North America. Stay tuned for
ever more events that run like clockwork and are a true, maybe the
truest, test of a mountain biker.
MTBRacenews.com: What do you see as the
differences, if any, between enduro in Europe and in North America?
Craig: Itís way
radder in Europe. And this, as far as I can tell, is because of a
lack of trail culture that discourages rad trails. We race on
ancient, time-worn footpaths, scrappy DH tracks, freshly taped
meadows and dreamy elfin forests. The kind of stuff you canít get
away with in the States, or even hope to pull a permit for. Plus,
both the riders and promoters have a decade of experience under their
the jump from North American to European enduro races similar to the
jump from domestic cross country racing to the world cup in terms of
the levels of competition?
Craig: Pretty much.
Or even harder. The terrain is just so much more raw and real over
there, itís hard to wrap your brain around it, no matter how good a
bike rider you fancy yourself. And Iím not even very goodÖ
MTBRacenews.com: There have been some
photos floating around the internet of some new trail bikes from
Giant. Anything you can tell us? What will you be doing most of your
racing on this season?
Craig: Um, this shows
how long it took me to sit down and answer these questions. The
airwaves will be exploding with Giant 27.5 bikes in the next couple
days. Theyíre really, really good, especially my Factory Team spec
Trance SXÖ Really good.
MTBRacenews.com: Do you have any
comment on Geoff Kabush's taking wins at the Blitz to the Barrel in
both the race and arm wrestling competitions?
Craig: That guy thinks
he can waltz into our town and take our pride and money. Well, heís
right. Best North American bike rider in recent history also knows
how to read an Armwrestling Wiki and outsmart the meatheadsÖ Iím
proud of him, and annoyed.