At Home with Nick Craig

Legend of British racing...

As each discipline of cycling has evolved at such a rapid rate over the past few decades, it's become all too easy for us to lose sight of how our sport came to be, and more importantly, who helped to shape the way we ride today. One such legend of British racing, who dominated cyclocross and cross-country throughout the '90s and early '00s, is none other than Nick Craig.

If you're less familiar with Nick's impressive repertoire of racing experience, championship titles and Olympic competition, then his life on two wheels begins in the '80s. Nick explains, "I was already racing bikes, first cyclocross, road and track, while also enjoying cycle touring." However, it wasn't until a group of friends got together in the winter of 1988 when Nick headed out on his first mountain bike ride. "That first ride didn't go that well. We took some very heavy bikes in the snow and mostly walked them around Kinder Scout in the Peak District." It wasn't until the following year, armed with a much better bike, that Nick competed in his first mountain bike race. We can all appreciate that feeling of being hooked on riding and racing bikes, and for Nick, this was just the beginning of a fruitful and illustrious career.

Nick became the British National Cyclocross champion in 1996 after he pipped fellow competitor and legend, Barrie Clarke, to the finish line. He retook the title in 1998 and 2005. Alongside this, Nick was also competing in mountain biking and scooping up more British National Championship wins along the way. But it's the Sydney Olympics in 2000 which stands out as Nick's most memorable race: "I raced the MTB and road race at the Olympics. It was a special feeling to be part of the games and all that surrounds it."

Staying at home in the Peak District...

The current global health crisis has put a temporary hold on all major sporting events, including the UCI mountain bike world cup, Tokyo Olympics and national events too. Working with Scott Sports, Nick helps support the sales and marketing teams as a brand ambassador while working for the UCI at the World Cups. However, he too is staying at home in the Peak District with his wife, Sarah, and 22-year old son, Thomas - "he's not really enjoying being back at home!" With weekdays becoming ever more challenging to differentiate between, Nick shares what a typical day is like for him at home. "I have kept myself busy. My work isn't possible from home, so I have turned back to my cabinet-making tools and have enjoyed making things that I've been meaning to do for too long. I have spent a few whole days at home, but I'm also planning on Komoot rides that I want to do after lockdown and also looking at my very local area to devise loops taking as many climbing meters as possible in a short ride."

"I refuse to allow myself to get low concerning Covid-19 as I think we can all learn from this time spent in lockdown."

With decades of race experience under his belt, Nick shares his thoughts on how the current global crisis may impact on cycling going forward, "I think we all know that growth seems to be high on the list, but I can't help but notice how nature is thriving. Riding on the road feels a lot like a Sunday morning 30 years ago, before retail shopping was allowed. That said, we are missing the social contact with the community that is cycling, and maybe we can all do our bit to make the difference after this time."

Nick Craig's Scott Addict RC 2.0 road bike in black with tan sidewall Schwalbe tubeless road tyres.
Nick's Scott Addict RC 2.0

"...once you have gone tubeless, there's no going back."

With more time to enjoy the local trails and surrounding areas of his home, Nick's been out adventuring on his new Scott Addict RC 2.0. With a pair of Schwalbe One RaceGuard Performance Line tan sidewall tires adorning his ride, Nick explains that "they create a lot of interest as they look amazing on that bike with the matching Syncros Belcarra saddle." And in case you were wondering, Nick prefers to run a tubeless set-up as the ability to run lower tire pressures is perfect for the small country lanes he's currently looping around, "just like MTB, once you have gone tubeless, there's no going back." On the mountain bike, Nick has coupled a Schwalbe Rocket Ron on the rear and Racing Ray on the front, both 2.25 with CushCore inserts while running pressures at 18 psi.

Once events start up again and the race season gets underway again, you'll probably find Nick Craig at some of the most challenging mountain bike events in the UK, giving the younger generations a good run for their money.

Words: Jess Strange - Velo Me | Images: Nick Craig