Christian Craig’s journey to this point in his career is unmatched by any other racer thanks to his early retirement, two year stint working construction and of course his triumphant return to racing. The Geico Honda rider enjoyed a lot of great rides during the 2016 Supercross season, but the most notable being his first Supercross main event win. Unfortunately though, Craig fell victim to the treacherous conditions of Glen Helen Raceway only two rounds into the nationals leaving him with a broken leg. Craig has since returned to riding and we spotted him this week at Milestone MX putting in laps, so we caught up with the number 38 rider in between motos to see what he did to stay busy during his time away from the bike.
You’re back on the bike, and out here at Milestone MX it looks like you haven’t skipped a beat. How long have you been back in the saddle?
It’s been roughly a month since I’ve been back on the bike full-time. I started riding at the two month mark, but my leg still didn’t feel that great, so I took another month off after that to let it heal and strengthen more. I’m back out there though, and I’m actually enjoying it now since the first couple of rides were so rough. I could only do a couple of laps at a time, and it was extremely weak and sore. I’m finally to that point though, where I can actually enjoy being on the bike instead of nursing my leg for two laps at a time. We’re getting there slowly but surely, and I’m not in a huge rush either, so that gives me peace of mind. I’m not at 100% by any means yet, as I’m still trying to put in the time on the bike to build myself back up. It’s been a long road because this was a tough injury for me. I’ve unfortunately broken almost every bone in my body, and this is one of the worst from what I could remember when it comes to pain. No painkillers would work for me, and after the surgery I was still in pain for weeks! I’m glad to have overcome that one though.
Obviously you had some time off the bike to recover from the injury, so did you get to spend some quality time with your family?
Yeah, we really did. We took an injury-vacation to Cancun! As soon as I got home from the Hospital, my wife suggested we take a vacation since we never get the chance to do so. When you have that amount of free time, a lot of people tend to go crazy sitting around the house, so to avoid doing that to my wife and son we headed to Cancun for a week. It was relaxing at first, but I’m really not good at relaxing. I was ready to come home (laughs). It was a good time though, and it was actually our first family vacation. Once we got home, I did the best I could to keep myself busy, so I’d do what I could in the gym or go hang out at the race shop. I really hate being off the bike-especially when it’s your job. That time away though, that’s what ignites that fire under you. I’m starting to really want it again even though I never lost the urge to win. You really start to enjoy going to the track all the time along with the overall grind like it was before the injury. It’ll be like that again soon enough, I just have to stay healthy to be ready for next year.
So was your wife counting down the days till you’d be out of her hair and riding again?
Yeah, for a while there I was getting to her (laughs). She’s still excited for me to leave every morning (laughs). whenever I’m riding all the time she’s always saying, “When are you coming home?”, but when I’m hurt and unable to do anything except annoy people that’s when she’ll start to say, “When are you leaving?” (laughs). We try to find that happy medium for time together when I’m on the bike full-time, so I think we got our time in during my little break. I’m definitely glad to be back at the track, so that she can get back to doing her own thing finally.
What about Jagger? He had to have been stoked to have dad home all that time.
Yeah, definitely. He’s so funny because he’s getting to the age where he’s learning a lot, so when I came home on crutches you could see it in his eyes that something was wrong since I hurt myself. My wife was good about keeping ice on my leg all of the time, and if he saw that I didn’t have it on my leg he’d go get it and put it on my “boo boo.” To this day, he’ll still put an ice pack on my leg. I have to tell him that I don’t need it anymore and he’ll just say, “boo boo, boo boo.” He’ll even put it on his leg and pretend to be like me. Yeah, it was definitely great to be home with my son all that time. You miss a lot when you’re gone riding and racing all the time, so I got to watch him grow up a little bit more was great. He’s such a cool kid! He enjoys coming to the track with me now and he loves to sit on my bike and make motor sounds with his mouth (laughs). Recently he learned to clap his hands and say, “Go Da-Da”, so now he yells that when I’m doing laps. That kind of thing definitely puts a smile on my face.
You’ve got to be excited to get back to racing. Can you tell us when you’ll return to racing, or what coast you plan on racing in 2017?
I may do a couple Supercross races overseas, which wouldn’t even be till late November, so that gives me plenty of time to get ready. Everything is still up in the air though, because we are waiting to see how my leg feels in the coming weeks before we confirm that we’re going over there. As of right now, the plan is Supercross, so I’ll start riding that again within the next few weeks. Then it’s time to build myself back up to be able to go win again.