The Unbearable Bikeness of Being Dan Craven
CLAIM TO FAME
Pro rider: Team Europcar, Grand Tour rider, former African cycling champion, cover model
AFTER MANY YEARS RACING ON CONTINENTAL TEAMS, YOU FINALLY GOT A CALL-UP TO RACE THE VUELTA A ESPAÑA FOR THE EUROPCAR PRO TEAM – WERE YOU SURPRISED? It’s been a completely insane year. Hearing I was on the Vuelta squad was pretty frightening, to be honest. It’s been such a long and hard journey to get here, and I’d virtually given up (on making it to the top) at some point. Then in the last year I sorted out some niggling issues, and suddenly everything changed around. @BICYCLING_SA SO, AFTER RIDING THE VUELTA, ARE YOU IN WITH A CHANCE AT RIDING THE TOUR DE FRANCE NEXT YEAR? I’m actually more keen on doing the Giro first! It’s been on my to- do list since coming to Europe in 2005, and I think it’s actually a much cooler and harder race than the Tour – even if it doesn’t have the hype behind it. So to be there is one of many goals for next year. Being the optimistic type, I’d say chances are close enough to 50/50. @BICYCLING_SA BEING A PRO RIDER SEEMS SO ROMANTIC… It’s only romantic from the outside. Very often people are jealous of my job – until I start explaining the intricacies of it, and their opinions often change quickly. That said, I’m not complaining, I love what I do. It just takes a special kind of stupid person to want to do it for a living. @BICYCLING_SA WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO RIDE? There are so many! Impossible to reduce it to one answer. Corsica, where I met @collynahart, is pretty special. Around the Italian lakes can be traffic-logged, but when not – absolutely stunning! But I always love returning home. MTB around our farm near Omaruru in Namibia means so much to me! At the end of the day, the best riding takes place when you are with good friends and have open roads, wherever that may be. @BICYCLING_SA ARE YOU ALSO THE OWNER OF THE TWITTER HANDLE @DANCRAVENSBEARD? No. I have my suspicions as to who it is, but as yet they’re unconfirmed. @BICYCLING_SA SOME CALL YOU A HIPSTER. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF? I’m very amused by being called a hipster. In no way do I think of myself as fashionable or a hipster. Then again, I don’t really feel like a pro (even after being Continentallevel for so long). I suppose I actually just still feel like that little bakoor- laaitie from Omaruru that I used to be. @BICYCLING_SA HOW FAMOUS ARE YOU IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY OF NAMIBIA? HAVE YOU MET YOUR PRESIDENT YET? I’m very upset to have never met our president! This has to change! The Namibian press is a small world, so I get a fair share of the press. The thing that amuses me most is when I hear that I’ve been talked about on the Oshiwambo-language radio station! @BICYCLING_SA TO BEARD OR NOT TO BEARD? Mostly to beard! It works for me; I shave once in a blue moon, just to mix things up. But generally, beard is good. @BICYCLING_SA DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FOUR WORDS Man, this is a hard one... Namibian. Mischievous. Thoughtful. Optimistic. Alternative. @AmyMostert What’s your diet philosophy? I’m a very big fan of Paleo (and bacon, and butter), but it’s impossible to follow that 100%. What I do is try to cut out sugar. I also try making my carb intake more specific and reduced, not just all the time, or at random. All of that goes right out the window during my (current) offseason though! :) @Alana_ Jane What keeps you motivated? Stupidity? :) Riding and racing is my passion, and there’s nothing else I would want to be doing instead. That’s kind of a big barrier that has kept me in the sport this long. But also, the fact that I have some long-term ideas ( goals?) in the sport; and the longer I ride now, the more doors will be open in the future to chase those goals, as undefined as they might be. Also, coming from Namibia and knowing how fortunate/ lucky I am – that thought helps a lot. @waydefinch What’s your best advice for young riders? Enjoy yourself! Definitely enjoy yourself! Cycling is too hard a sport to do well at if you don’t do it for yourself first. And always be willing to learn and grow, even if it hurts. @amy_ebz So, I’m a girl who likes a guy with a beard. What’s the secret to good growth? Ha ha! I suppose people are either lucky to have a good beard or not. Besides washing it like I wash my hair, I don’t really do much. The big thing is just experimenting with how the beard looks. Not to be afraid of experimenting and trimming!
IMAGE SHOT IN CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT. BICYCLING ALWAYS ADVOCATES WEARING A HELMET.