Charlie Craig – Such a Tragedy

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Nick Craig’s son, Charlie, died in his sleep last Friday night.  It is a terrible loss for Nick and his family.

I’ve known Nick for a long time.  Probably since I first started travelling internationally for MTB racing.  Nick is an all around good guy and a great athlete.  He still is very active in cycling, both on and off the bike, over in England.

Charlie was following his father’s footsteps.  Charlie was 15, and won this season’s National Trophy Cyclocross Series, U16, in Britain.   Like father, like son.  Nick has won the British National Cyclocross Championships many times.  They were doing it as a family.

I sent Nick a short message, yesterday.  He responded heart felt.  I never met Charlie.  But his father said “He loved his bike, but loved life too.  He only ever saw good in people, adult or children.” 

Nick went on to say sometime about the Iron Otter, from Sea Otter.  That was an overall competition for doing both the road stage race and MTB stage race.  About finding my wheel at the end of the Fatboy criterium in Santa Cruz.  He called it, so nicely, “the golden wheel”.

Death of friends is so hard.  But death of family members is always unmatched.  I feel so bad for Nick and his family and wish them the best dealing with their terrible loss.

Charlie Craig, out training. Photo from British Pro, Rob Hayles.

Charlie winning.

Charlie and Nick.

This is the only photo I could find of Nick and I. From the Santa Cruz Fatboy at Sea Otter. Nick is to my right, in the picture.



13 thoughts on “Charlie Craig – Such a Tragedy

  1. Eric Miller

    Hind sight is 20/20 and no 15 year olds don’t just pass away in their sleep.
    Congenital heart defects are more common than anyone would think and if you are lucky the Docs catch it at birth. But more times than not they don’t and the child becomes a ticking time bomb without anybody even realising it.
    I don’t know if Charlie had a defect but it’s either that or something with his environment. Either way it’s very sad for his parents and no amount of speculation will make it easier.
    RIP Charlie, you left too soon.

  2. Joe

    I am sorry about your friend’s son, just incomprehensible. I agree with Nick’s “golden wheel” comment. As a bike racer in Florida I raced Coconut Grove on several occasions, one year I got in a breakaway with you, we were away for like a lap, and as someone about the same size as you, I learned a lot sitting on your wheel. You weren’t all hunched over like the typical Florida crit rider, where the fashion was to ride the smallest possible frame with the seat post extended way up and the seat slammed back, and the bars necessarily very low, almost like the position on a track bike. You seemed to sit a little more square on the bike, and seemed to roll a little bit bigger gear powerfully and smoothly. I learned a lot on that lap. Thanks

  3. El Tejan

    My son is 12 – he races cross and mountain bikes. This is my nightmare scenario. I can only hope Nick and family find the strength to struggle through this seemingly unbearable period. Rest in peace Charlie.

  4. Aki

    I worked for a family business for a while and one of the family was a girl that started working in the shop at about 16 years old. She was a relatively active person, ran, did soccer, fit, etc. She went away to school, had a job while in school, etc. One day at work she collapsed at a register. She’d had some kind of heart attack, at 19 or 20 years old.

    She now has some kind of implanted thing near her collarbone that acts like a miniature defibrillator. If her heart acts up it’ll zap her and get the heart back under control. I guess she has to get something replaced (battery?) every 5 years or so.

    If she hadn’t been at work she probably would have died.

    I think of her whenever I read about cyclists and heart attacks. “Back in the day” a heart attack made me leap to the conclusion that the rider was up to something. Now I realize that that may not be the case.

  5. Americus

    The thought of laying your own child to rest. I can only imagine how difficult this must be. I know I would never be the same…
    My deepest regrets and sympathies to all who knew him!

    RIP Charlie…????

  6. El Tejan

    Meanwhile, in Austin, a 19 year old racer is dead after being struck by some gutless turd who left the scene and is still at large. Be safe my friends.

  7. Gary

    Unexpected things like this happen, it doesn’t make it any easier, but it does happen. I coached high school JV girl’s basketball for 9 yrs, & 7th & 8th grade girl’s & boy’s basketball for 3 yrs. One day at the end of 7th & 8th grade boy’s basketball practice, one of my players, the most active & skilled player on the team, collapsed & passed away during wind sprints. A couple of months later we learned that during the autopsy the ME found that the blood vessels closest to his heart were congenitally narrow internally. Externally they were normal sized. I thought they were talking about his arteries, but I was told that his heart was starved for blood, so perhaps the problem was with his veins. After 25 yrs of grieving, blaming myself, re-thinking, making changes to practices, watching for signs of stress in other players, re-thinking, talking with the parents, talking more with the parents, it all comes down to this for me: I was in a very important & intimate place in this boy’s life…& his parents, being at work, lost out on this the most important moment in their son’s life. Unexpected things like this happen.

  8. Gary

    I can’t imagine how his parents managed. The looks on their faces for several months was one of shock and loss and a lack of understanding.

  9. Mark Kerlin

    Gary, that’s horrible. I’m satisfied that you’ve done everything you good to make the best of a horrible situation that you did nothing to bring on.

    For my part I’m going to do what I can to make sure that my kids are fully cleared medically.


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