The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo, created by Tim Shay.

by Molly Hurford

I’ve started my countdown to cyclocross season. We’re less than two months away from the first UCI race, and just shy of two months away from CrossVegas, the unofficial season opener. That’s both incredibly exciting and completely terrifying, for reasons both work and race-related. I suppose it really hit me just how close it all is this past week, since my coach has me on mid-season break to prep for a cyclocross build, Jeremy Powers just hosted his Grand FUNdo ride where I got to see nearly everyone from the New England cyclocross scene, and because I’m just about done with my book on cyclocross in the US. To say that I’m freaking out in a manner akin to Anthony Clark right before a race would be fairly accurate.

Between work and writing, I’m amazed that I’ve even found time to ride. Luckily, I have a coach that understands a crazy schedule who also knows what my weaknesses are and how to target them. I think it’s working. When I was riding on Sunday with an old college friend, the man responsible for getting me to race cyclocross a few years ago, we were going up a slight hill when he looked over at me and told me that I was looking more comfortable and stronger than he’d ever seen me look on the bike before. High praise coming from one of the people who ‘taught me everything I know’ about bike racing.

The office. Molly Hurford

The office. © Molly Hurford

It hasn’t been all fun and games though. With so many projects due so soon, it’s been a constant, unrelenting workload. But what I have come to realize in the past couple of weeks is that no matter how heavy the load may be, or how many hours a day I’m working, or how many calls/emails/texts from various workplaces take priority at any given time of day regardless of whatever else is going on, I am incredibly lucky. I’m lucky that this is what I get to do; I’m lucky that I get to write about what I love. I’m even luckier that people read what I write, and that I have the opportunity to do so from my own home instead of heading into an office day after day. Looking at the calendar for the upcoming season, I get incredibly excited like a little kid at Christmas. But at the same time, when realizing that I’ll be home maybe four days at a time from September through January, it’s a little overwhelming. I know we all laugh at the pros who complain how hard travel can be, but I get it. Sometimes, living the dream requires some sacrifices, though I’m sure none of us would trade it for anything. So I’ll be happy to pack my bag in September and start hitting the trail. We have some exciting plans in the works for the season, and I’m feeling optimistic both as a racer and a reporter.

Of course, with the mid-season break and all, I have logged a lot of hours in front of this computer screen. Lots of writing, lots of revising, lots of plotting. But I did get to make a point of spending a few hours this weekend just playing with friends. And Western Massachusetts has a lot to offer by way of ‘playtime,’ even when bikes aren’t involved. Because sometimes, the best way to get psyched about riding is to simply stop riding.

Taking a break between working and training. Molly Hurford

Taking a break between working and training. © Molly Hurford

If you want to read more about my training, racing, and editing exploits, check out mollyhurford.com.