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Up Close with Craig Richey

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Craig Richey has long been a staple in the Victoria cycling scene.  Having raced for Oak Bay Bikes throughout his cycling career and donning the maple leaf as part of our national men’s cyclocross team, we caught up with him to pick his brain on juggling racing with working, his stellar season with Trek Red Truck, and why he loves CX over everything else.  Enjoy!

OBB: With a bunch of super impressive results to date in 2015 with a He-Man performance at BCs (90k solo off the front), Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series road race (another heroic solo move from afar), and probably the most entertaining finale in the crit (for the win) what has been the most memorable moment of your season?

CR: Definitely the finish of the crit. Tactically it played out perfectly but I will remember the last two laps for a long time. I was all in, and my vision was going blurry. Coming through the start finish the crowd was going crazy and I was closing on Curtis, I knew I had him. The thought was “Son of a bitch, I am going to win this thing.”

OBB: You lived the life of a full time bike racer for a while and now you are a full time employee at Easton Cycling and you’ve managed to maintain an incredibly high standard of performance for yourself. What’s your secret in ten words or less?

CR: Balance. No Excuses. Man Up. Race for Fun.

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OBB: Everyone seems to think that working full time and racing is a wholesale disadvantage. Having been a full-time racer and a full-time employee-come-racer, can you see any advantages to having a full-time job while racing? Has your training changed at all?

CR: Being a full-time racer when things are going well is so much fun, but when you get in a rut it is super hard to get out of. You’re taking things super serious, and have no-excuses for anything but solid results, yet stuff just isn’t clicking. It is hard on the ego and self-worth. With a full-time job I get life satisfaction from the challenges and triumphs at work; the value of a day is no longer dictated by my actions on a bike. It is way less stressful, there is no agenda to my results or racing. I think the mental freedom is what is allowing me to excel on the bike, as there is no agenda or result I need to get, and I am racing for fun. Racing aggressively is fun, attacking on downhill solo 90km from the finish and trying to hold on is fun. Winning is fun.

My training is not great, much lower volume and lots of marginal miles commuting to work. My recovery is not nearly as good so I can’t train as much but still get 12-15hours a week on the bike.

OBB: How do you avoid making the ‘I work full-time’ an excuse for a poor performance?

CR: The second you think “That guy as an advantage over me because he bikes full-time, he has already beaten you”. I have also implemented a policy of: If indoubt, don’t race. This insures I am always motivated and never just go through the motions.

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OBB: Do you find yourself on the trainer more often these days? Any tips for breaking up the monotony? Is it possible to be both sane and able to do base miles on the trainer?

CR: I don’t have a lot of big training rides in the rain left in me, so yes I do a fair number of trainer rides in the winter, usually on the rollers which is more interesting. For longer rides go 1-hour rollers – 1-hour trainer – 1-hour rollers. Plus I usually watch tv or movies which I don’t have much time for normally. There is a bit of an if you want to watch tv you need to be on the rollers association happening.

OBB: No rider can go far in this sport without the support of guys who have more miles and racing under their tires. Who makes this list for you and why?

CR: My coach Elliot Bassett at Mountain Endurance is amazing. He was responsible for my amazing show of form the last couple weeks. Keith Wilson and Tom Skinner have both influence my riding and OBB has been very supportive over the years. Peter Krause the owner of McBike in Smithers gave me my first cycling related job when I was in high school, and I was signing the back of my paycheques and giving them back to the shop to pay for bikes for the next two years.

OBB: You’ve taken on a mentoring role with Trek Red Truck, does teaching and passing on knowledge to other riders make you question any of your long-held beliefs about training, tactics, all things cycling?

CR: The Trek – Red Truck program is amazing. It doesn’t change any of by long-held beliefs because those tend to already be in line with the philosophy of the team. Getting an education is important and it takes time to develop as a cyclist.

OBB: You race road, CX, and Mtb. What is your favorite discipline and why?

CR: Definitely CX. I like that is combines some of the tactics of road with the technical aspects of mountain biking.

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OBB: What gets you more stoked, grabbing Strava KOMs or nailing a tough workout form the coach?

CR: I don’t really care about Strava, and don’t use a powermeter so I am never nerding out over nailing a tough workout. I get stoked on a scenic road ride with good company, hence my love for the OBB ride.

OBB: Speaking of coaching, describe one workout that you’ve seen contribute to some sort of growth in your development as a cyclist.

CR: A workout that has really helped my CX racing is doing virtually all CX intervals on grass.

OBB: How important is recovery in your training and what does recovery look like to you?

CR: I don’t really worry about recovery, I bought a height adjustable desk for my office so I can stand more.

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OBB: Greg Lemond said ““It never gets easier, you just go faster.” True or false.

CR: I would say it depends. Training gets easier, or at least my training is easier than it used to be. The stress of racing gets easier with experience. Winning races never gets easier.

OBB: Which World Tour rider are you a fan of? Why?

CR: None really, I’m too disenchanted by all the cheating at the top. I watch the big races but am not passionate about any particular riders. I am a fan of pretty much all the Canadian riders except the ones that have been implicated in doping.

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OBB: What do you have on the PVR, classics or grand tour stages?

CR: I don’t PVR, but I watch a smattering of all types of racing including XC and DH.

OBB: When you’re away from Victoria which local rides do you look forward to returning to?

CR: Ross Durance. East Sooke. William Head Prison. Otter Point. Waterfront. The Peninsula. Victoria has some of the best road riding in the world.

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OBB: Is there a specific product, be it nutritional or bike related, that you are loving right now?

CR: I am testing a new prototype Easton road bar that is the most comfortable bar shape I have ever used, it is absolutely amazing. The new Fox 36 fork on my mountain bike is a step above any fork I have used before. Lululemon dress pants bring comfort and class to the office.