Craig Richey is part of the six-rider Canadian team that will compete at the 2011 UCI Cyclocross World Championships next weekend in Germany. The 26-year-old from B.C. is representing Canada for the first time at the Worlds this year. His story is an interesting one as Richey had been working in advertising in Victoria before quitting his job last September to race cyclocross full time. He joined the U.S.-based CyclocrossRacing.com powered by Blue Competition Cycles team and turned his attention to being a professional bike racer.
During the North American season, he had two podium finishes at UCI pro races and then finished fifth at the Canadian Cyclocross Nationals in Toronto, qualifying him for the Worlds. Read more about Richey’s move to the professional ranks in the April-May issue of Canadian Cycling Magazine.
First off, congratulations on making it to the World Championships. How excited are you to race next weekend?
Super excited. It will be my first time racing for Canada and I think every kid dreams of being able to represent their country on an international stage.
What would you consider to be a success at the Worlds? Do you have a finishing place in mind that you’re shooting for?
I would like to finish on the lead lap and in the top 40.
How much different has the racing in Europe been compared to North America in terms of competition, the fans, etc.?
The difference in competition is huge. At just about any race in North America I am able to ride at or close to the front of the field. At the UCI races here I am trying to not get lapped. If you easy up for a second, three riders will chop you.
The fans are way different, in North America, everyone cheers very enthusiastically for every rider regardless of how you are doing. In Europe, they only cheer for the leaders or their favorite riders.
You’re coming to the end of your first season doing this full time. Was it what you expected it to be?
For the most part, yes. Lots of travel, training, racing and recovery time just sitting around. I’m gaining a huge amount of race experience and think I have been able to identify my weaknesses so I should be able to prepare accordingly for next season.
You definitely took a big risk by walking away from your previous career. If you had the opportunity to go back to last September, would you do it all again?
Definitely. Everyone has been super supportive and I have had some encouraging results, so it was definitely the right call. Lots of time later in life to make money. If I had disappointing results or had gotten injured I am sure my answer would be different.