Rabobank-Giant mountain bike pro Adam Craig's recent turn of success at the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Deschutes Brewery Cup, where he placed third both days, could prompt a run at the cyclo-cross world championship team the US sends to Kentucky in February.
Craig told Cyclingnews earlier this year that he planned to stop his season after the Bend races unless he hit the podium "for some strange reason," and in that case he would consider postponing his ski season to race nationals in Wisconsin and then try for Worlds.
Well, strange things happened last weekend in Bend, and now Craig, who took on some extra work this 'cross season for his sponsor after eight-time US national champion and current UCI World Cup leader Katie Compton moved from Rabobank to Trek, may be signing up for a little more extra curricular activity.
"I'm trying to fill Katie Compton's shoes out there since she's not riding the Giant bicycles anymore," Craig said earlier this year. "I like racing ‘cross, so it's a good excuse. They wanted to have someone out there, and I'm happy to do it."
Although the 2008 Olympian hoped to be hitting the ski slopes near his hometown of Bend by this time, the idea of keeping the podium finishes "rolling" has a strong appeal for the 2010 singlespeed national champion.
Craig, the reigning USAC super D champion, would have to be one of the discretionary choices for the US Worlds team, and a top result at nationals could help pave the way to Kentucky.
"I'll talk to [USA Cycling cyclo-cross director Marc] Gullickson and see what he has to say," Craig said. "I'm still not super agreeing that February is a good time for bike racing, but we'll see how it goes. One step at a time.
"I need to take a little time off. I've been in race shape for awhile. I started training 12 months ago yesterday and have been training every day since then to try for the Olympics and for the mountain bike World Cups and everything."
So far this cyclo-cross season, Craig has made the podium at five races, including wins at the Downeast Cyclocross and at HPCX. He finished second at the Cycle-Smart International, and then notched his two third-place finishes in Bend. The challenge for Craig is to keep his current good form "rolling" for two more months.
"It's been a long year and I need to balance what my body can do," Craig said. "I don't want to go and just show up. I want to go and ride well. That said, it would be nice to go and punk some Euros on home turf, because you know those guys aren't all gonna bring their moms over.
"Until then I have to fix the snowmobile, wax some skis and get a final inspection on a garage," Craig continued. "So I have stuff to do."
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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