The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

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

by Molly Hurford

It’s finally over … and while I miss cyclocross and seeing my favorite people every weekend, I’m a little thrilled to be in the off-season. Though when you write for a cycling magazine and race road and cyclocross, the off-season doesn’t really last too long.

When I got in the car to leave Nationals, I swear there was a Hallelujah chorus playing in my head. I admit it, I was tired. Nationals just about did me in, between working and writing race reports and then actually racing. I returned home at three in the morning on Tuesday exhausted, and with another four hour drive looming in front of me, since I still needed to get to Providence from New Jersey. My body was beat and my brain was fried.

First day of the off-season, celebrated properly.

First day of the off-season, celebrated properly.

I didn’t need to get to Providence in any great hurry, except that I knew there was a donut breakfast waiting for me when I got back, and that was enough of a reason for me to get in gear and head home to New England, where I finally feel natural saying things like, “wicked awesome,” and “go hahhhhder.” It was time to celebrate cyclocross being done for the year, enjoy some time off, and hang out with my housemate and training partner before he headed out to Arizona to avoid New England in the winter. Smart man.

Working very hard in the off-season, studying and writing.

Working very hard in the off-season, studying and writing.

Little did I know, the start of my off-season wasn’t quite as relaxed as I would have hoped, since the week following Nationals was Masters Worlds, and then just two short weeks later, Elite Worlds were on the schedule. So try as I might, I found those hours blessedly free from bike-riding full, but not with fun cross-training, unless sitting in front of a computer counts as cross-training. Additionally, I tasked myself with a few New Years Resolutions to take place during this part of the year: namely, getting my USA Cycling Coaching certification, relearning French, and keeping myself mentally sane and together by actually keeping a journal. Not a blog, a real live journal. (And in the spirit of Rapha’s “Keep Cross and Clash On” campaign, I had to treat myself to the awesome journal on the left.)

Dylan McNicholas at his celebratory shindig with his new cat calendar. Aww!

Dylan McNicholas at his celebratory shindig with his new cat calendar. Aww!

This means that the off-season certainly hasn’t been all fun and games. It was hard work going to the party that celebrated Dylan McNicholas’s Masters win at Nationals, and it was really hard work interviewing him. I know, I know, my life is rough.

Of course, it wasn’t the off-season for everyone, and considering the amount of work I did over the Worlds weekend, I went to sleep on Sunday feeling as if I’d spent the weekend racing, rather than just covering the races. And I wasn’t even covering them from Belgium! I was just working the coverage from home, but the amount of work that went into coordinating, watching, doing live-blogging, and of course, factoring in the time difference, meant that the Cyclocross Magazine crew and I went almost without sleep for most of the weekend. But looking back at all of the coverage we did, I think it was worth it.

And I have been managing to get in some cross-training despite all the craziness. In the past week, I’ve gone rock-climbing and taken kick-boxing classes! Sure, I have sore muscles that I didn’t even know existed, but it was worth it for how much fun it was to take a break from the norm and get out and do something new. The best part is that after a couple of weeks of playing around, I’m really feeling ready to get back to serious riding.

Now, I have a whole new adventure to look forward to. In less than a week, I head down to Athens, Georgia, for nearly a month of focused base-training for road season. I’m really excited about this coming road season, the impending cyclocross season, and all of the awesome coverage I’ll get to do for it.

This past weekend marks the unofficial end of my first season of coverage for Cyclocross Magazine (though it’s not totally over yet, there are still Euro races through February!) and I have to say, it’s been a blast. Sure, there were the mornings before races when I was awake until four in the morning working, only to be up again at 7 A.M to get ready to race. And sure, I was tired and grumpy sometimes. But honestly? I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been great getting to know some of the best racers in the sport, and being able to spread the word about how amazing cyclocross is has been, well, wicked awesome. So thank you to everyone who tuned in during the season, and I’m excited for what’s ahead!

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.