The Girl with the Cowbell Tattoo: 538 Miles Down, 250 Pages To Go
It’s been a very busy few weeks. Between getting home from Georgia after Southern Cross, moving into the “cyclocross hub” of the Northeast, and heading out for a casual five-day, 538 mile ride, it’s been a little hectic. But in the best way possible.
First of all, I survived Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington. Hanging out with such an amazing group of racers and riders for five days straight was pretty incredible. We rode a total of 538 miles, from Boston down to Washington, D.C., and on the way I learned quite a few things. For one thing, I can put out 400 watts on a downhill and still barely hold a wheel when Tim Johnson is on the front. Secondly, bike advocacy goes so far beyond what I’ve become used to as a racer. Typically, I focus on women’s issues like racer paycheck inequality. But this ride made me take a step back and look at other issues, like inner-city youth not being able to ride bikes to school, or a lack of bike paths in a busy area.
Arriving in D.C. was incredible. We rolled in with 100 people riding alongside us, on all sorts of bikes. Then, we went to the National Bike Summit dinner, and seeing a huge ballroom packed with cycling advocates of all types was mind-boggling. I have to commend Tim for taking part in such a great cause. During the whole week, he stressed that racers need to take a more active role in cycling advocacy, and I think he’s right. From Tim’s work with Bikes Belong, to Jeremy Powers’ work with the developmental JAM Fund team, to Adam Myerson hosting cyclocross clinics for women, it’s always heartwarming to see pros giving back to the sport. I firmly believe that’s what separates cycling (and cyclocross in specific) in the US from anywhere else in the world.
Speaking of which, I did promise in my last column to share some exciting news. Kat Statman beat me to the punch in delivering it in his last Rumors and Rumblings column, but I’ll say it again here. I just signed a contract to write a book on cyclocross in the US. It’s due out in September, just in time for the season. To say that I’m in seventh heaven right now would be an understatement. Since I was five, I’ve wanted to be an author, and now I get to write about the topic that I love more than anything. So while it might mean that my road season is cut a little short because I’m squirreled away in my room transcribing interviews, I think it will be well worth it, and our community of cyclocrossers deserves to have a book written about them!
One of the coolest things that has happened in the last year is how there’s been a shift in cycling that has made cyclocross come to the forefront. As we all know, it’s the fastest growing variety of cycling in the US, Worlds is moving here in less than a year, we have top tier Euros coming over to partake in our races, and the list goes on. But it’s also starting to spill into road season a bit as well. There are so many cool road events coming up that have a slightly “dirty” slant to them; Tour of the Battenkill with its gravel and dirt roads is in two weeks, as is the Ronde de Rosey, which I’m lucky enough to be racing in on a team with Mo Bruno Roy. Beyond that is the Berkshire Classic, which is run by the same people who bring you the Philadelphia Cyclocross School, and even further down the road is the JAM Fund Grand FUNdo, sponsored by Jeremy Powers and his team. It’s a good time to be involved in cycling and an even better time to be in cyclocross!
So, with miles to go and pages to write before I sleep, I’m off to see one of my favorite non-US cyclists, since Gabby Day has returned to the US. I’m so excited that Western Massachusetts is once again repopulating with my favorite cyclocrossers, and that I get the opportunity to ride with them. There’s something about going out for a spin with Jeremy Powers that seems infinitely cooler and more racer-like than just going out on the bike path alone for an hour.
If you want to read more about my training, racing and editing exploits, you can find the painfully full version of events on my Twitter page.
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