Q & A:  Nick Craig (Scott Racing)

Quiz time with one of the nicest legends in the world of cycling – Nick Craig, winner in CX and MTB since 1985 (Youth champion CX) #RideForCharlie

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Q & A:  Nick Craig (Scott UK)

Quiz time with one of the nicest legends in the world of cycling – Nick Craig, winner in CX and MTB since 1985 (Youth champion CX) and GB Olympian in 2000.

Professional CX champion in 1994, Nick backed that up in 1996 beating another legend in cyclocross, Barrie Clarke and yet another legend on road and CX, Roger Hammond (U23).  When the sport went open in 1998, Nick was again the top step ahead of Barrie.

Steve Knight, who was third in 1998, got the better of Nick and Barrie in 1999. In the ‘naughties’, Roger Hammond was sweeping all before him (2000, 2001, 2002 etc) and Nick had to be content with a podium here and there until 2005 when Nick won the championship again ahead of the rising star, Liam Killeen.

45 plus champion at Kent Cyclopark in 2019 at the British CX Championships

After that, more podiums for Nick in the Senior championship before in 2010, he started a run of wins in the Veterans 40 plus category as well. Now a 50 plus rider, Nick, despite some recent surgery, will be looking to add to those veterans win after a Trophy season winning in the Vet 50 category.

Find out more on Nick’s CX history of podiums

History of CX Podiums:

Recent CX History Podiums

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Here is the Q&A with Nick who should revel in the muddy conditions of the 2020 Shimano British Cyclocross Championships.

How has the 2019 Trophy Series been with all those wins?
Nick: I missed round one vet 50 as it was six days after the 3 Peaks and I realised if I won, I wouldn’t wear the Masters Worlds jersey again so decided to give it a miss. From then on, my CX season has only been the National Trophy Series which means I can pack the van, go and race for the  weekend and then have a weekend off.

All was going to plan until Sarah spotted a mole on my scapular and I had it checked. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) it was the nasty malignant melanoma ,the only skin cancer that kills. Two well timed surgery’s just about allowing me to fit the races in – which was pure chance and I managed to finish the series off.

The series is all over the country, is the travelling a tough part of the process or just part of the job LoL?

Nick: The travel is big this year so again, it makes sense I do both days at the rounds of the Trophy. I could not imagine traveling five or six hours each way for just one 40 minute race. I just wouldn’t do it.

Have you had the same pit crew for the series or do they vary?
Nick: This year my pit crew has been my wife Sarah and she’s been quite demanding 😂  Actually, this season has been the hardest on the pit crews. Sarah got a new 100ltr waterbutt and has always had the very kind support from others in the pit whether that was catching (the dirty bike), lifting 20kg water containers or helping wash my bike so a big thank you to all of you –  the racing is the easy bit.

What round of the series has been the muddiest?

Nick: Well, only Pembrey was a fast race for me which was amazing after rain all week and over night. The sand drained the water so that was a pleasant change. Every other race has been tough especially Crawley.

Which course has been the most fun for you to race on?
Nick:  It’s hard to say. I should have liked Derby but I kept falling off. Irvine was fun, off camber and sand pits; Ardingly was a tough one which was a shame after so much work by the organising team but the rain just made it a slog. Pembry was a great new venue and York was a great final event again, made tough by the rain. A massive thank you to all the organisers this season for doing a great job.

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How crucial are tyre pressures in CX? Can they be the difference between winning/losing?
Nick: Tyre pressures I think are the key. Mine range from 18 to 22 psi. Win or lose? I’m not sure but it definitely helps  the pleasure element of racing.

What else is crucial in the set up of a CX bike?
Nick: My set up is a bit upright, not aero and is all about control. Weight distribution to maximise grip. I’m running SRAM AXS this season  and I just love the 1X system they have.

Do you do any pre-season training specifically for a CX season?
Nick:  My training is simple. Maybe not the ultimate as I love to ride so I do whatever I have time for so volume is maximised. Then I race for the speed and intensity. Specific training I know would help, but no, I just ride as I love it.

Finally, who do you see being your rivals at the Cross Champs in Shrewsbury and will you be looking to ride both the vet 50 and Elite races at a venue known for its mud?
Nick: Shrewsbury National Champs will as ever be a great race. It’s tough because it’s flat and if you blow, you almost park up.  I will have good competition from Darren Atkins.  He’s a really good rider that is very good at targeting a race. Along with the others, it will be an all-in race for me. The elite race is something I like to do but with the class of the Under 23 racers, I know I’m out of my depth but still love to race.

Good luck to Nick at the Shimano British CX Championships 2020 in both the races he contests – #RideForCharlie

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