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Adam Craig Reports On His Victory At Mount Snow's National Mountain Bike Championships

  • By Kurt Hoy
  • Published Jul. 10, 2008
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM EDT

Another July, another US National Championships coinciding with with the best race ever. That being Mount Snow, Vermont.

While riding around on some back roads this morning I ran into a local guy who enthusiastically gave me directions to connect a nice ridge-top loop. We rode together for a couple minutes and he asked if this was my first time here. I thought for a moment and realized I’ve still got a t-shirt in the garage at Grandma’s house from the World Cup here in 1995. So I’ve been coming here since I was fourteen and still haven’t ridden every road, or had a less than absolutely stellar racing experience. I love it here. Carl, on the other hand, pretends to be respectfully indifferent, mostly because he hates riding rooty goodness and steep climbs but doesn’t want to dampen my enthusiasm. Kelli, being a Michigander, has been coming to Vermont for quite a while too, and always seems pretty into racing here. She showed up fresh from her BC Bike Race victory with a whole new (British Columbian) perspective on awesome trails but still was smiling after riding a lap on the goods …

Over the last year I’ve been working on a variety of bike development projects for Giant. One in particular had a definite (personal) goal from day one. Ultimate Vermont Domination. The Anthem X is an updated Anthem frame utilizing the Co-Pivot design, rendered in good ol’ aluminum, to provide four inches of Maestro suspension. With the combination of extra travel and a touch slacker angles than those found on the razor sharp Anthem Advanced, you can take the irresponsibility of your (cross-country race) riding to a whole new level. We were able to commandeer one of the recently arrived Anthem X demo bikes, strip it and have a superb last minute build courtesy of our head mechanic, Tom Neb. Thanks, Tom. Now it’s time for UVD…

There was a bit of contention as riders went out on their respective recon missions over the course of the week. The course was a bit, um, different. In the same spirit, but, well, just not the same. Gone was a super fun opening loop singletrack, replaced by a (gasp) fire road descent … Also gone was the first five minutes of super techy steep proper East Coast singletrack climbing to get the big loop party started. Fortunately, a whole bunch of other all-time trails remained and it would still be a good proper mountain bike race. Albeit one that your average 50+ Sport Class rider could survive. I guess that’s OK, we want everyone to have a good time, and my idea of a good time is a big skewed … Some of the Right Coast purists were a bit miffed though …

The lack of a proper singletrack on the start loop meant I got to ride the first climb with Ryan Trebon instead of him crashing out in the first few minutes … We had figured out that Ryan would need at least a minute gap over the top to keep me from running over (under?) him on the descent … I decided not to find out and had a small gap on him as we crested. ProPedal off and time to roost things. After some UVD bike railing of perfect singletrack and a few steep intermediate climbs I finished lap one. The look back didn’t produce any chaser sightings so I put my head down and rode fast.

A lap later still no chasers. More riding fast. Then I saw Carl starting the first loop as I started the second. We tried to high five across the tape and fortunately failed, sparing us both crashing into the tape and losing our races … He was sticking to his guns and passing guys on the climbs between surviving the awesome bits on the XTC SL hardtail … Boring, but effective. Carl ended up fourth on the day and I kept things fast enough for a comfortable win. Good thing I didn’t get beat, keeping the Jersey at the Best Race Ever feels way better than losing it … Now I can comfortably give the local Maine boys some hilarious Captain America skinsuits so our Wednesday Night Bog rides can be hilarious in addition to fast and shockingly fun. I love those Maine trails …

Somehow I convinced myself that riding my Ten Speed as a cooldown wasn’t the antithesis of proper Vermont racing (and good training for that Chinese race), but I was nervous for the Karma ramifications in Sunday morning’s Super D contest. If my Reign found out that I’d been tenspeeding the night before it might buck me off on the first pitch … Fortunately, we have photographic proof of this not happening. And of me at least being in front of a few guys after the 100-meter uphill run at the start …

Once I got around Harlan Price, who was riding impressively fast (LOOSE) on his 29er hardtail, I had the pleasure of being on the wheel of Rad Ross Schnell (recent Downieville Downhill winner and course record setter). Ross is, for lack of a less cheesy phrase, the Sultan of Smooth. We kept things smooth and fun until they had to get really hard. There was a 30 second fireroad climb where we’d have to pass a couple guys to get into the lead. We pedaled REALLY hard and just barely made it happen. Some ski slope bombing, some awesome proper woods trail riding and more bombing brought Rad and I into the finish, 1-2. So, if I had a GPS on my bike I could plot my Vermont race on Ross’ (nonexistent because he’s not a whiny NorCal chach) Downieville GPS and both of us would have beaten Weir there … Even though he flatted. Which is his fault and therefore irrelevant. But enough of that, we rode fast and had fun, high fives at the finish for everyone. Ross will have to wait till next year and home (Colorado) turf to end my SD Title streak at Five … I can’t wait.

Carl and Kelli are kind of smart. Instead of getting up at seven to race the funnest race of the weekend they slept in so they could ride fast in arguably the least fun race of the weekend. Too bad everyone takes Short Track so seriously. I guess I do too … Carl and I thought our 1-4 in the XC made us the team to beat in the Short Race. On paper, we were right. Too bad we’re way too retarded to actually capitalize on that. When Bishop rolled off the front with four laps to go we didn’t think much of it. I drove the chase for a couple laps and didn’t accomplish much but keeping him dangling at about 8 seconds.

I did accomplish making my fellow chasers tired enough so they couldn’t help. Oh well, Jeremiah won and I totally set Carl up to get third, a flawless last-lap leadout … Not really, but hey … So, with my paltry fifth and Kelli’s solid fourth in the ladies race we could have some kind of cheesy Giant Mountain Bike Team pep rally cheer, “Fifth, Fourth, Third, we’re moving on up…” Good thing there aren’t pep rallies a bike races …

Some fun trail riding in the Sherwood Forest eased the pain on missing out on the triple, on account of the Short Track, for the second year in a row. I’ll take the fun races …

A week in Maine and a race in Quebec coming right up. This is why I keep coming back…

Thanks for reading, and to everyone who made another year of wearing obnoxious skinsuits possible …

FILED UNDER: MTB / News TAGS: /

Kurt Hoy

Kurt Hoy

Kurt Hoy is the content director at Competitor Group.

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