Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Carl Decker’s blog, “Maybe tonight you rub my feet.” In it, Decker reflects on his longtime teammate and friend, Adam Craig, who announced his retirement from pro racing at the end of 2016.
At the 2007 MTB season opening Sea Otter Classic, my teammate, Adam Craig was interviewed for a piece in the free daily newspaper handed out at the gates of the festival. Adam was a fresh face at the front of World Cup XC races at the time, and the article, cheekily titled “Turning on the AC,” was a lighthearted Q&A covering where Adam was coming from and what made him tick.
One of the questions queried what made Adam different from his Euro World Cup counterparts. And Adam made an offhanded remark — something to the effect that he was less regimented, less pampered, and had more fun. The best part of his statement was, “I’m not Christophe Sauser. I don’t live with my mother and she doesn’t rub my feet every night.” Christophe Sauser did live with his mother in Switzerland. And he was the best rider in the world at the time. And at the time, he was also at the Sea Otter Classic. The day that article came off the press, I remember seeing Sauser walk past the Giant Factory Off-Road Team pits and give Adam a look that could boil water. I laughed out loud. Adam sheepishly shrugged his shoulders and said, “oops.” We shared a good laugh.
That article captured a small slice of the spirit of Adam Craig’s career as a professional bike racer, and at the end of 2016, Adam’s career as a professional racer comes to a close. He’s a character that will be sorely missed on the race circuit by many, but especially by me.
So it’s the end of an era. And as solemn as this may be to the outsider or the fan, I’m rather proud of him for retiring. It takes courage to go into the unknown. And Adam is doing just that. He’s been training and racing for 20 years or more, and I’d say racing is all he knows — but that would be overstating things. The same breadth of activities and relationships that have arguably kept Adam in the game so long now show promise in a new chapter opening up for him. He intends to keep working for Giant in some capacity, and they’ll be happy to keep him. Adam is a valuable asset for helping to shape Giant’s products. He’s knowledgeable, reasonable, and well-written. And he’s keenly aware of trends in the MTB world — what works, what doesn’t, and why. But to stay on top of these things means continuing to do a lot of riding. And maybe a little racing. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t show up to the occasional race in 2017 for “product testing” and proceed to dismantle every serious-assed pro that shows up.
Possibly while wearing a denim vest and a mustache that not even his mother could love.