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Rider Interview: Rabobank/Giant Man Adam Craig

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |March 15, 2011 1:30 AM
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Long-time Giant rider Adam Craig has pretty much done it all when it comes to domestic mountain bike racing. In 2010, he was set to take his game overseas and challenge riders on the World Cup circuit but an ACL injury sidelined Craig for much of the season.

Now Adam is back and ready to once again storm the beaches of Europe as part of the Rabobank/Giant squad. Adam shares his plans for 2011 with our man Matt Williams and explains why dopers should be afraid when they see him coming.

MTB Race News: What have you been up to since your single speed win at the cyclocross national championships?

Adam Craig: My Dad was in town to heckle at Nationals and we rolled that right into a week of home improvement. That rolled into a month straight of skiing Powder every single day and then, blammo, it was Juneuary and time to ride bikes again. Tons of good riding in the last few weeks in OR, shredding singletrack and looking at the SRM on the road.  

MTB Race News: The recently released Olympic Qualification Guidelines seem to heavily favor World Cup results. Does riding for a European based team give you an advantage looking toward London in 2012? 

Adam Craig: It'll be great to have the support structure over there and get in some bonus racing on the continent for sure. I'll be aiming to be at the top of my game in Champery for Worlds to try and pinch that Top 5 automatic spot... It's gonna happen!  

MTB Race News: You and other Giant sponsored riders have been showing up at races like the Downieville Classic in recent years. How do you see racing in the US evolving over the next 5 to 10 years? 

Adam Craig: For me it's going to evolve into more and more of the All Mountain events for sure in the next couple years. I think that's the way John Q Mountain Biker is going as well, people who don't seriously race XC but are shredders are starting to look for that competitive outlet, whether it's with their buddies or at a race. Drop the post on your 6" bike and shred back to the truck. It's a super fun format and I'm stoked to be able to squeeze a few events in around the UCI schedule. I think the multi-day stage races and 50-100 mile type events are gaining hold too, John Q can do one or two a year and feel good about their accomplishments in between "training" which happens to be doing a bunch of sweet rides.  

MTB Race News: Any chance you’ll line up at the US Marathon Nationals in Bend this summer?  

Adam Craig: I'll be lining up at the finish to see how much I won by!  

MTB Race News: You were out for much of last season with a knee injury. Has your approach to dealing with injuries changed over the years? What were some of your strategies for staying psyched and motivated while having to sit out part of the season?

Adam Craig: I just made the best of it. It was actually nice mentally to have a break from the winter training and spring travel chaos. I took the opportunity to address some other issues I had structurally and rebuild myself a bit better. That was a big motivator. But, ultimately, I just wanted to be able to ride again.  Mountain Biking is a damn good time!   

MTB Race News: Your bike set-up is a little unconventional by World Cup standards (120mm travel, thru axle fork/single chainring). What are some of the advantages you see to setting up your race bike that way? 

Adam Craig: I'm just spending so much time on my All Mountain bikes (Trance X Advanced, Reign X) that I've gotten used to the simpler drivetrain and slacker angles of those bikes. My riding style has changed and I'm loving the new approach. A lot more front wheel weight can be had with the thru-axle fork, it's just so much more solid and confidence inspiring. For 2011 I'm actually pretty pumped to be on M980 XTR with the 2x10 though, the Single Ring is always a tradeoff for racing XC and now I don't have to shoot myself in the foot as much...  

MTB Race News: I know Carl Decker raced a lot this year on the Anthem X 29er. Have you tried it? Can you see yourself racing big wheels this season? 

Adam Craig: I've been riding prototypes of the new XTC Composite 29 and will be racing on that a bit here and there but overall I think 26 will be the call for me this year, partially because it works great and partially because Rabobank isn't on the 29 program yet and 2% change either way isn't worth the equipment logistical struggle...

MTB Race News: Can you describe riding in a rally car with Carl Decker?  

Adam Craig: Kids in a candy store.  I've got a book of notes that makes me seem like the navigational prophet and Carl has the skills to apply the info I'm delivering and turn it into complete, utter, committed radness! Imagine being on a perfect trail you've never ridden with your best friend whispering turn radius, jump size and braking points into your ear.  It's really great. Except our Money Tree died so this year is going to be a little lighter on the Rallying schedule...  

MTB Race News: Aside from the Filip Meirhaeghe scandal a number of years ago, mountain biking has largely avoided high profile doping cases. What do you see as the big difference between road racing and mountain bike racing in that regard?

Adam Craig: Dopers know that I'm getting tired of their shit and will do them personal harm if they cheat. Something snapped in me this winter and my tolerance for that BS has dropped from extremely low to non-existent. That said, two things keep MTB racing more pure. One—Money. Even Absalon isn't making 5 million euros to win the Tour.  It's just not worth it. Two, and more importantly, you can't dope your ability to ride a bike through the woods efficiently.  Fairly badass roadies come over to the MTB World Cup and get just OWNED. They can't put their 6 watts/kilo down so they can't go anywhere. I think those who've learned the art of shredding have strong enough morals that they just kind of don't take the risk. Or I'd like to think so...

MTB Race News: What’s your favorite lunch to bring on an all day ride?

Adam Craig: Whatever is at whatever bakery I happen to pass on the way to the trail.  And chocolate. And maybe some tacos. Lunch is a contest that is meant to be won by surprising your Powerbar eating buddies with something amazing... 

MTB Race News: If you could be a pro athlete in a sport other than cycling, which one would you choose and why? 

Adam Craig: It's winter so I'd have to go skiing. Whether that'd be in some mountaineering capacity or in a Freeskiing contest arena remains to be seen...  It could happen. Snow covered mountains are such a dynamic environment.  And it'd leave summers open for Rallying. And Enduro Motorcycle racing. Or streetbike racing. Hmmm. So much adrenaline out there...


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