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Interview with Giant Enduro Racer Adam Craig

Posted by: Matt Williams |October 9, 2013 1:48 AM

Team 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.

Craig checked in with recently to talk about the Enduro World Series, Giant's new bikes, and arm wrestling Geoff Kabush. 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?

Adam 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. 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 this summer?

Adam 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 Are you disappointed to have left XC racing on a low, by your standards, note last season?

Adam 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. 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 year?

Adam Craig: Itís always been awesome, people are just now figuring out how much so and, more importantly, how to put on events. Last year it seemed like your fitness really came around during cross season. Will you race a full cyclocross schedule again this season?

Adam Craig: Absolutely. 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! What do you think about the Enduro World Series and the organization behind it?

Adam 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. What do you see as the differences, if any, between enduro in Europe and in North America?

Adam 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 belts. Is 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?

Adam 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 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?

Adam 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. 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?

Adam 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.


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