Adam Craig Gets The Word — He's Made The Olympic Mountain Bike Team

  • By Kurt Hoy
  • Published Jul. 8, 2008
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM EDT

For the last year, American cross-country mountain bike racer Adam Craig (Giant) has been battling it out on the World Cup and National Mountain Bike Series for a slot on the U.S. team. Last week, after a solid performance at the world championships, Craig got word that he had made the team. This week he shares his journal and includes a report from his Giant teammate, Carl Decker. —Editor

OFFICIAL! The names were announced a few days ago and I’ll definitely be one of the two guys representing the good ol’ US of A in Beijing on August 23rd. Now, I’d kind of known that this might be the case for a while now, but you never really know until it’s official. Now it is. Perfect. I can continue on my current track of getting in shape for steep climbs in hot weather, but with a newfound motivation. It’ll be good to go over there and ride fast, hopefully inspiring some folks to do the same at their local race or evening loop in the meantime …

A very important part of my preparation took place on Friday … I’ve been out of the country on Independence Day for about nine years in a row now. But not this year … Fortunately, there was the impromptu “Freedom Ride” through downtown Bend in the afternoon to provide that group ride atmosphere that is so valuable for precise training efforts. The “group” was oddly clad and 400 or 500 strong. The workout I was focused on for the afternoon was balancing the esteemed Hailey Foster’s Tandem Cruiser whilst traveling at 0.5mph, very important practice for the inevitable first turn bottlenecks … Eventually the ride made its way to Columbia Park where all kinds of bridge jumping, music listening, river floating, socializing and refreshing beverage consumption was taking place … From there things are a bit of a blur, but I can definitely say that it’s good to be home on the Fourth … People with fireworks in the desert (tinder box) didn’t even start any fires …

Anyway, here’s hoping everyone had a quality holiday weekend and it has you as refreshed and ready for the remainder of summer as I am …

A photo from the (extremely safe) afternoon is above, in addition to this link to a story the local news station did about going to the Olympics and riding bikes on the trails down the street from my house …

— Adam

(Here’s Carl’s report on the Park City NMBS race from last weekend, good reading:)

The jig is up. I’ve been enjoying unprecedented time at home this June, and crappy weather notwithstanding, it’s been really nice. While the rest of the Giant team has been in Europe, dealing with the inevitable Grade A struggling that that involves, I’ve been here in Bend, with lots of time between naps and bike rides to do whatever I please. Since napping pleases me, I’ve been doing a lot of that, in particular. While awake, I’ve been learning how to jump my STP at the “Lair” (a jump park near my house that sounds like “the layer” when the little jump grommets pronounce it). And I’ve been to Oarkridge and Hood River to do shuttle runs with my new Reign X fro-riding bike. I’ve finally worn out the rear Michelin on my KTM street bike, exploring parts of Oregon I’ve never seen. And I’ve spent some quality time in the garage, tearing apart a prematurely totaled Subaru STI, so that its heart and lungs might live again in the trusty Wheels of Teal. It’s been kinda nice having a June at home. But now it’s time to get racing.

Last week found Amiel “Sammich” Cavalier, and I on our own at the NMBS in Park City, Utah. Since everyone else was either just back from Europe (and thrashed) or just back from Europe and racing the BC Bike Race (Kelli), Amiel and I were the only ones that made it to Utah. So it was a little like my days of riding for the Brewery for the weekend: borrowing tools, washing bikes, sharing lodging with strangers, and looking for a sucker to stand in the feed zone for two hours. Kinda reminded me of how spoiled I’ve become with Giant’s staff always taking care of all the details and making things easy for us (uh, so thanks Tom, Elke, Joe, and Frank).

Saturday was the XC and I did what I have done there the last three years. I told myself I would start conservatively on the opening climb and NOT write checks my lungs couldn’t cash in the first five minutes of a two-hour race at altitude. And so I set about following my own sage race strategy. Until the gun went off and the race actually started, at which point I rode ridiculously hard for the first five minutes, thus insuring that I would have a terrible day and suffer hugely, while riding pathetically. It was grim for about an hour. And then people starting coming unglued and I started feeling better. My last lap was my fastest (not saying too much), and I ended up fifth, nearly catching the elder Schultz brother in fourth. My lanky roommate du jour, Trebon, won the thing, beating Bishop and Kabush, respectively, about four minutes ahead. Not bad for wanting to drop out for 1/2 of the race …

Sunday was the usual double-header with an afternoon short-track followed by the last event of the weekend, the Super D. I felt good about my chances in the ST. The course had a few tricky corners and my legs were feeling good. The Super D was looking to be a little more than I’d bargained for though. Amiel (who just came 19th at the DH World Champs) said he might ride his full-tilt DH Team for the Super D race, and that a bunch of other fast buggers were joining the fray, as the course was “more fun” than the proper DH course.

The gun went BANG, and in the first steep uphill corner, K-bomb dabbed hard, which brought half of the field to a stop, whilst the other half charged on. Twenty-second place through the first lap or so, and then I was able to pick guys off one by one. Three laps to go and I’d made contact with the leaders (Ryan, Kabush, and Bishop), but I knew I’d be lucky to outfox any of these guys after a pretty tough charge just to be in the mix. Ryan and K-bomb attacked each other (Kabush is hard to beat in this game) and Jeremiah showed a little weakness. We threw down on the long climb with 1/2 lap to go and I got to the corner first. Third place for me then …

Supa D was a great course. Not great for me, mind you, but a really nice fast, rocky downhill run with a couple of little upswings. Amiel and fellow Gravity ringers all reached for the light bikes (4-5 inches or so) because they could ride them just as fast as the full DH bikes, but couldn’t be bothered to ride the big bikes up the two small inclines. I am the opposite of a DH ringer (as far as SD goes), so I took Amiel’s bike after he graciously swapped the brake levers left to right (the rest of the world rides moto-style, with their front brake on the right, don’tcha know). Good times riding that big rig down the hill. And riding up the 20 second climb was murder! I ended up running (almost literally) a 6:02, Sammich was 2nd by a Second in 5:45. I was probably 12th. Didn’t have the heart to look. Still leading the series though…

Made it home yesterday and on the 10th I’m off with AC (the Olympian big shot now) to NY, VT, QC (that’s Quebec), and another World Cup in Bromont that’s supposed to be very cool. Hopefully the forests will stop burning and I can get some clean-air training in before we leave. Adam should probably just go get used to it for Beijing.

Over and Out


Kurt Hoy

Kurt Hoy

Kurt Hoy is the content director at Competitor Group.

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