The Girl with the Cowbell Tattoo: To Nationals, Worlds and Beyond
2013. And what a way to start it.
After a couple of much needed weeks at home on the East Coast, January 4 saw me head North and West in a very long solo car ride that wasn’t nearly as fun as the Strava/CXM vs. WD40 Challenge from early December. Destination: Chicago, for the New Year’s Resolution race. Of course, that time in the car heading to a race titled “Resolution” made me start thinking a lot about what I’ve been doing in the past year. A lot has changed in recent months, when I made the shift to making cyclocross my one and only livelihood, abandoning a full-time job outside of the cycling industry in favor of pursuing this passion. And that brings me to …
Resolution #1: Keep following my passion.
Before I left again, my cousin came over to say Happy New Year. I haven’t seen her in a year, so we had a lot of catching up to do. When I gave her the rundown of where my life is now, she was sort of shocked. A lot has happened in a year, between the book and shifting to full time here. Then, when we were talking about her boyfriend’s new job, she said something that struck a chord. She said, “Well, you have to go where the money is.”
She looked confused. I explained that I made the shift to working full time at CXM because I love it, not because of the money.
“Oh, you must have more time to race,” she said.
“Not really,” I replied.
“But you have more free time,” she added.
“Actually, I work a whole lot more,” I said.
“So … you work more, you get to race less, and you make less money?” she asked, incredulously.
“Yep,” I said, and paused. “And I love every single second of it.”
It’s easy to take the comfortable job, but it just wasn’t worth it for me. Bring on the late nights, the endless agonies of editing, the frustrations of layout, the writer’s block. I love it all.
Resolution #2: Go with the Flow
Something that I write a whole lot about is how much traveling I’ve done this season. Even though most people are just finishing up with race travel, mine is just beginning, between this next month of Nationals-Cincinnati-Worlds, followed by a month in Georgia. Then, home but straight back to the West Coast to work on Issue 21 of the magazine, which I’m thrilled about. I was nowhere near ready to leave San Francisco the last time, so going back will be great.
When the season started, travel was really hard. It still is. Despite being surrounded by people, you get lonely. Despite wanting to see friends, you crave solitude. It brings out the best and the worst in you, but above all, as a lifestyle, you learn to adapt or go home. That’s where going with the flow, keeping calm while carrying on, comes in. It’s easy to get stressed about missed workouts, missed dinner plans, missed meals and missed nights of sleep. And while none of those are good things to be missing, the surefire way to make them infinitely worse is to get upset by these obstacles. Instead, snag a nap. Eat a granola bar. Do some pushups, wherever you happen to be. Basically, remember that this is not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the season. And it doesn’t have to ruin a trip.
I still stress out a lot when I’m on the road, hence the resolution. It’s a work in progress, but I think I have made a lot of progress in recent months. Just don’t make me late to the airport. Then, all bets are off …
Now, time for me to finalize some Nationals details. I’m already in Madison, and looking forward to checking out the course today. Stay tuned this week, because we have big plans for Nationals and will be bringing you round-the-clock coverage of the races, the people and the events taking place, from singlespeed races to 70+ races to interviews with some of our top pros before and after the elite race.
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