Adam Craig is one of those fortunate people who was able to turn a fun childhood hobby into a lucrative career. And now that career has taken a new direction as Craig joins Maine’s Sugarloaf resort as the mountain bike race and event sales manager.
“Back when I was racing, I didn’t even know this kind of opportunity existed,” says Craig. “It’s been good to move away from competition and be able to develop mountain biking around the country, especially at home here in Maine.”
A Wild Ride
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games that got Craig to where he is today. Growing up in the small town of Exeter in central Maine, Craig spent his early years riding mountain bikes through the area’s vast open spaces and local trails. He started racing competitively in high school, including cross-country and downhill at Sugarloaf. In 2003, a few years after turning pro, Craig started racing for bicycle company Giant.
During his career, he was a three-time, Under-23, cross-country national champion and a 2007 and 2008 national champion, and represented the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
In 2013, Craig transitioned from World Cup cross-country racing, featuring multi-lap races around a short track, to the Enduro World Series, in which bikers are timed as they bomb down steep and technically challenging trails. This helped Craig gain experience in gravity events and trail development.
After about 15 years, he retired from racing in 2017 and dove into supporting the mountain biking community. “I put a lot of energy into my job at Giant, doing product development, testing and marketing,” he says.
He also started working for the Enduro Word Series as its North American Continental rep, traveling around the country helping promote and stage events. It was at such an event in Vermont when he met reps from Sugarloaf who were interested in developing gravity mountain biking and events at the resort. That chance encounter led to Craig’s new job.
“It all happened organically,” he says.
Ready to Ride
In his new position, Craig will promote gravity mountain biking at Sugarloaf, working with organizers to attract races and other mountain bike events. In addition, Craig will spearhead the design and creation of rugged, natural enduro and downhill racecourses at Sugarloaf, and help guide the development of the resort’s forthcoming lift-accessed mountain bike park, a key part of Sugarloaf’s 2030 development plan.
“It’s my job to cultivate Sugarloaf’s mountain bike busines,” he says. “It’s awesome. I grew up racing here as a teenager, and it’s nice to see a position created to continue that legacy.”
Craig is preparing the resort for the upcoming MAXXIS ESC Enduro Series Box Showdown in September. As a gold qualifier for the Enduro World Series, the Eastern States Cup attracts some of mountain biking’s best riders. And in August 2022, Sugarloaf will be one of two American stops on the 2022 Enduro World Series tour, which draws the highest level of enduro mountain bike racing on the planet.
These events are some of many intended to further boost the profile of Sugarloaf, which is located in Carrabassett Valley. Thanks to the efforts of the Carrabassett Region chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association and the town of Carrabassett Valley, there are now some 80 miles of trails in the area, originating at the base of the mountain and spanning throughout the valley.
“I feel really fortunate to still have a career in the cycling industry,” Craig says. “It takes more than just winning races to be successful. But I still ride as often as I can. It’s still my favorite thing to do.”