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Adam Craig And The Giant Crew Rage Through Scotland

9-5-07 // Online Exclusive: Craig Roosts SSWC And Worlds Relay

Chris Lesser

Logo courtesy of Jo Burt
Adam Craig - the winner - moustache and mullet, denim hot pants

On Tuesday Adam Craig kicked off the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William, Scotland, by anchoring the U.S. national four-person relay team to a bronze medal—the best finish for a U.S. team since the UCI introduced the format in 1999.

The team relay features one lap each of the cross-country course by an elite female, an elite male, a U23 male and a junior male from each nation. Georgia Gould (elite female; Luna Chix) led out team USA, followed by Ethan Gilmour (junior male; Devo-Okemo) and Sam Schultz (U23; Subaru-Gary Fisher). When Craig’s lap came up, Team USA was in ninth place.

But there’s more to the story than Craig’s scorching final lap than how he picked up five positions on an elite, international field of competitors.

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For starters, just two days prior to the event, while most competitors were probably following a strict training schedule, putting in some light cardio or maybe getting a massage, Craig was 60 miles away, in Aviemore, swilling beers and racing in a denim vest, short-shorts and pantyhose in the 2007 Singlespeed World Championships.

What’s more impressive is that Craig won the event, and as he charged the field on his anchor leg at Fort William he did so with a raw two-day-old SSWC tattoo on his ass—the mandatory badge of honor for SSWC winners. Not to be outdone, Craig’s Giant Bicycles teammate Kelli Emmett won the women’s singlespeed title, and picked up a little ink herself.

Less-permanent prizes were awarded for various other categories, including Dead Last, Best Crash and Drunkest Singlespeeder.

Our senior singlespeed race analyst, Mike Ferrentino, weighed in on the race from Scotland, where he was drinking with Martin Steele, whom Ferrentino qualifies as “one of the unholy trinity of organizers” for the SSWC.

You have to love a man, who is arguably the fastest XC racer in the U.S., showing up at a drunken singlespeed race in the north of Scotland, a week before the World Championships, wearing a mullet and a mustache that he grew just for the event to go along with the specially chosen Daisy Duke shorts, denim vest and pantyhose that he was racing in. That's admirable,” Ferrentino said.

“Even more admirable is the way that he rode the race—hollering out rebel yells and maniacal laughs, passing politely, stopping to chat, taking beer hand-ups, wrecking hard on fire roads after taking said hand-ups, and still winning with a crushing margin. Topping it off, he took a tattoo to soft part of his ass that is bigger than most man-hands, less than 48 hours before he was scheduled to race the team relay at the “real” world championships.”

While some in the obstinately anti-establishment singlespeed crowd might bristle at a bunch of top pros showing up and crashing their party (Craig and Giant teammate Carl Decker took the top two spots and Trek pro Travis Brown took third), Ferrentino reserves judgment.

“Every naysayer who feels that the purity of singlespeeding might somehow be compromised with the appearance of real-world pro racers showing up and winning this obscure and eclectic event should take a moment and reflect on this: Not only is this something that a paid professional racer might consider a detrimental career move when undertaken a week before a world championship race, but it is also a validation to the fuck-all-em-all ethic at the core of singlespeeding that is only strengthened by having bona fide hardmen come and throw down with speed and style, knowing full well that the men in suits who cut the checks won't be stoked when their prime cuts of beef show back up at the corral with some other brand on their haunches,” he said.

“Adam Craig and Kelli Emmett both deserve stand up bellowing cheers of "slainte!" with glasses drained from top to bottom in salute,” Ferrentino concluded. “This is where the rebel spirit of mountain biking comes home to roost.”

The night before the SSWC event, organizers held “The Decider” to determine where the annual race will roost next year.

“We had a open and fair competition to be decided with a 500-meter sprint on rollers, a nip of the finest whisky, and a Highland Fling, or best interpretation thereof,” Steele said. “This was judged by an impartial panel of hairy unwashed natives, who couldn't split Curtis (for Napa) and Max Cooper (for Durango). The final decision had to be made by the baying crowd."

Curtis Inglis won the crowd over, and SSWC08 will be held in Napa, California, where the clash between pent-up singlespeeders and stuck-up oenophiles is sure to be a good one.

For now, Craig has until Saturday to rest for the elite men’s XC competition in Fort William. Stay tuned to for coverage as all the races unfold.

1st lap - Carl Decker leading Adam Craig
Kelli Emmet



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