Photo by Jake Orness Courtesy Giant Bicycle
Quick Stats: Adam Craig 2008 U.S. Olympic Mountain Bike Racer
Daily Driver: 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon (Adam's rating: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: Brian Head, Utah, to Aspen, Colorado
Car he learned to drive in: 1978 Jeep CJ-7
First car bought: 1987 Ford Tempo
National mountain-bike champion Adam Craig is headed to Beijing to compete in the Olympics for the first time, as one of only two men on the U.S. team in that particular discipline of cycling.
But Team Giant's [www.giant-bicycles.com/] Craig might have been on the Olympic team at the 2004 Athens games, if it weren't for that darn go-kart track near one of the Olympic qualifying events that year.
"I might have blown it at a go-kart track last time," Craig laughs. "Because the second to last selection was a World Cup race that had a really awesome go-kart track in Quebec and everyone wanted to go karting afterward. I sat out the first round because I didn't want to get sick, but did the next one and ended up getting a cold because we were driving go karts in a rainstorm. I got sick just before the final selection event and that was the end of that."
Before going off to train in Asia for his Beijing race August 23, Craig took time out to talk about his rather animated car life. When he's not on a bike, Craig and Giant teammate Carl Decker compete on four wheels -- in Decker's 1993 Subaru Impreza in Rally America's Group 2 class in the Northwest.
They started rallying only in the last year. It happened organically, since the pair drive together to races. "Carl had always been pretty interested in getting a rally car and finally bucked up two winters ago and got the cheapest one he could. He just built the thing into a competitive, awesome little car that we have a good time racing with."
As co-driver, Craig doesn't get dizzy. "It's a big issue; it doesn't happen to me," Craig says. "Carl and I have been driving together a lot of years, racing bikes and driving rental cars, so we have a good understanding of each other's skills. Mine are good with the map and his are good with the wheel."
But Craig drives them to rally races in the Northwest, where they live, in his daily driver, a 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon, which he gives an 8 out of 10 rating.
"It's nice if your daily driver can be a turbo all-wheel-drive car, which is what the WRX is good for," Craig says. "It's probably an 8 just because if it had more bottom-end punch it would be a 10. If it were an STI wagon, it would be a 10, but it's not. But it does make me feel better about abusing the hell out of it on gravel roads, going kayaking or towing snowmobile trailers."
Craig drove from his home in Bend, Oregon, to Salt Lake City at the end of 2005 to pick up his ride, after finding it for "cheap-ish" on eBay. "I bought it wrecked and just fixed it up -- it had been hit in the right front corner, usual WRX crash -- someone ran into something. We just pulled that out and put some new body panels on and replaced the K frame. Carl helped, and my dad came out for the holidays and we did a Christmas car-repair project." In retrospect, he wouldn't have bought the WRX because it needed more work than advertised.