Christian Craig and Cole Seely have a lot more in common than just riding for Honda HRC. Both born and raised in California, the teammates have recently started training down in Florida for the first time in their careers and actually live in the same apartment building. Both are also recovering from injury—Craig a hand injury; Seely a torn adductor.
We caught up with Craig and Seely at High Point press day to see how the move to Florida is going and more.
Racer X: How’s the injury going? It’s 16 days at this point. Is it painful?
Christian Craig: The first two days I got surgery I’m like, how am I going to ride in two weeks? They were all saying in two weeks you’ll be riding. I’m like, there’s no way. I’m in so much pain. I can’t even move my fingers. After like four days I was in the gym. I’m like, this is just crazy. Every day I was moving my finger more and more. Then after a week I’m like, I’m going to ride next Monday. So, once I did that and I actually did a couple laps I’m like, I’m racing! It doesn’t hurt when I ride. It’s more after, like at night it’s sore. As long as I ice it I’m good for the next day. It’s pretty crazy though. Fourteen days after a surgery, you get a plate and six screws, and I’m back at a racetrack? It blows my mind.
I read a comment that said, “That guy’s crazy.”
Yeah. Somebody was like, “Fourteen days? Be careful. Like, you’re being dumb.” I’m like, you can’t do anything. I’ll break the bone next to it before it breaks because it’s held by a plate. It can prevent the healing a little bit, but I have stuff I’m doing like [using a] bone stimulator. It will be fully healed soon.
Are you surprised you’re back already or was this the plan?
Right at first I’m like, “I’m going to race High Point,” because I was pissed at myself for doing it and throwing away a podium position at Glen Helen. So, right away I’m like, “I’m going to race High Point.” That was my goal the whole time, but right after surgery I’m like, there’s no way. Maybe RedBud, maybe right after that. Then it started just coming to life. I guess when you set a goal and you want to do it bad enough—I wanted to be here so bad. Missing Colorado I was so pissed. That’s one of my favorite tracks. Then last year I got hurt at Glen Helen. I ended my season. To do that again, I’m like, “I cannot let this go.” I’m on a factory 450. I had the coolest opportunity in front of me and to have this little setback—I can’t let that go. So, I worked my butt off to try to get back. We’re back here, and we’ll see how it goes on race day.
To me it seems like the transition to the 450 was good. You were riding really well, but looks can be deceiving. Were you feeling comfortable? Do you feel like you’re kind of there?
Yeah. Hangtown I struggled with myself and then the bike a little bit. I just wasn’t fully comfortable. I think that’s how everybody is at Hangtown. They’re always going to say we weren’t with the right settings or whatever, but it was pretty far off. Then I made some changes, obviously. We tested. Glen Helen was just going great. I got fourth in the first moto, my best-ever finish. Then I was leading the second moto and was running third, then the stupid crash. Before that crash, I felt so good. I felt good on the bike. I was just really happy and everything was just clicking. Just the whole day I was smiling. It goes to show that when you’re happy, you’re happy with the bike, you’re happy with yourself, you ride good. So, my plan is to do that every weekend. So, we’ll see.
Cole said things are going well down in Florida. What’s the transition been like for you?
Yeah, I’ve had this plan for a while. I was going to do it last year before I got hurt on the 250. Then obviously that went down the drain. This year I had it planned, and then he called me about a month ago and was like, “Hey, what are you doing?” I gave him all the details and we actually got an apartment—we are in the same apartment complex. So, we pretty much live together. He comes over. We play Call of Duty. We’ll do whatever. We have the same trainer now. We ride together. So, we’re pretty much full teammates that ride, train, and play games together.
You’re not showing up on the weekends like, “Oh, hey, dude.” You guys are teammates.
Yeah. Then we have [Adam] Cianciarulo that rides down there. We’ve been doing motos together and it pushes us big time. A lot better I think than in California where a lot of people just ride by themselves. So, I think he’s liking it. I’m loving it. I don’t want to leave. I plan to stay there for the whole summer and possibly off-season training.
So it could be extended?
Yeah, we have the apartment for a little bit, and then as long as the family likes it, we’ll stay. If not, we’ll go back to California for a little bit.
He’s in a little different situation. You’re taking a whole family. Is it tough to pack up? This isn’t moving down the street—this is across the country.
We boxed up clothes and shipped them there, and then I had a truck there already from when I went there for supercross and practice. But the family loves it. The kid loves it going out to the Nest and playing with the chickens and cows and running around there. So far the wife likes it. It’s not too hot yet, but I said if she can stand the summer heat I want to move there. So, that’s the plan. As long as she likes it by the end of summer we want to get a house there and be there full-time. So far, we’re loving it there. The Nest is awesome. Good training. I like how it’s just so simple. You go to the track, get your work done, go training, go to the gym. There’s no traffic you got to deal with. There’s no people around. It’s so simple. You get your work done and go home and go to bed.
Isolated a little bit.
That’s what I like. I grew up in California and been through the hecticness and all that. It’s time to simplify my life a little bit.
Racer X: Down in Florida now. What’s that like?
Cole Seely: It’s been cool. I didn’t get to ride a lot because with the bike being shipped—I got a good four days in, which was a lot of fun. It’s better than being at home in California and going to the local tracks and kind of the same old story every single week where lines are blowing out. It’s just hard to get good, quality motos in. I made the move out there and I’ve been riding with Christian this week and Cianciarulo and Jeremy Martin and Chase Sexton. It’s cool because we all get to kind of push each other. It’s definitely a different vibe down there. Also, just to be able to get used to the humidity. I’m definitely not used to that being from California and pretty much living there my entire life. That’s been cool. Also kind of switched up my training program. I’m working with Blake Savage now. That’s been really fun, especially working with him and Christian and Adam all the time. It’s been a lot of fun. It really added some excitement to my program I think.
Is Jeff [Ward] still helping you out or no? Is it just primarily Blake on and off the bike?
It’s just primarily Blake. Jeff’s kind of got his hands full right now. He’s doing the Race Across America, which is a huge deal. I’m really excited for him. He’s worked really, really hard to get in shape for that. Then also living in Florida, he’s not moving out there with me. So we kind of parted ways, but we still talk a ton. I’ve been texting him all week. I’ve known Wardy since I was 13 years old. That’s not going to change. Just working with Blake off the bike. I’m kind of writing my program and just putting my motos in without him and with Christian.
What went into the decision? Like you said, you’ve been based in California your entire career. Why now?
I don’t know. I just kind of needed some change. Like I said, every week feels the same when you’re in California. You go to Pala on Tuesday and the track is good for half an hour, and then it blows out. Glen Helen, same story too. I just kind of needed a change and really just needed to see what it’s like and see if it was for me. If it didn’t work, then I’d just move back. I kind of dedicated the summer to it to figure it out, but so far the past two weeks have been really fun. I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t really see myself going—I’m still going to base myself primarily in California, but I’d like to get my motos in and train out in Florida.
I would assume you’re renting a house or an apartment or are you staying with somebody?
Yeah, just a small apartment.
Are you at the Nest or are you kind of jumping around a little bit?
Just been riding at the Nest. It’s cool. The track is completely out of my element. The first day I rode there was last Friday. I was the first one out on the track and kind of got to make my own lines and stuff, and then when Adam and Jeremy got on the track you can completely see I’m a typical 450 SoCal rider with the inside lines and all that kind of stuff. All their lines are really sweeping. I think just that in itself was good for me to learn line choice and all that. I’ve learned a ton just in the past four days I’ve ridden there. It’s a super sand-based track, so I’m definitely not used to that. I’ve just learned a lot being there.
Does it help training with your teammate? Are you guys able to bounce stuff off each other at all, like settings?
No, not necessarily settings. We’re not really testing while we’re there. It’s more so just the intensity. I think that’s the best thing about Aldon’s [Baker] program. Obviously he’s a great trainer. He’s a great nutritionist. He’s got his ducks in a line, for sure. But then again, you get to ride with fast guys all the time and push the intensity and really build yourself into a better rider. I think that’s a huge part that I’ve never had in my program ever. I did ride with Justin Brayton, and he’s in California. Outdoors I haven’t really had that. Kind of stoked that Christian and Adam and all these guys are kind of up for me coming out there and riding with them and letting me kind of learn from them as well as push them. There was a lot of positives to it. I think a lot of riders can kind of let their egos get in the way. You don’t want to let them join in the motos, but fortunately there’s a really cool group of riders that ride at the Nest. They’re down for me to come out and be a part of the program. I think we’re all helping each other.
How’s the injury? Are you back to full strength, full training and everything?
Yeah. That was another thing after Colorado. It kind of worked out. I didn’t get my bike until Wednesday or so when I was out there in Florida, so that whole time I was cycling and still going to the gym, but the worst thing for my leg was being on the bike. So, kind of taking that time off, even though it wasn’t by choice, it was really the best thing for me. Now I can hit a turn and if I dab my leg it doesn’t hurt. Everything’s kind of just loosened up and feels as close to 100 percent as it’s been really all outdoor season and at the end of the supercross season, obviously.