I’m finally back in the Northeast, my training trip to Georgia completed. I have a bike tan (well, one shade darker below my bib shorts line, anyway), I survived two of the Winter Bike League’s crazy Saturday hammer-fests, I managed to race my ’cross bike, despite it being February, and I stammered through my first CyclingDirt interview. Doing that, I learned that being interviewed immediately after a race is really difficult. I suddenly feel bad about doing post-race interviews. (Not bad enough to stop doing them. Just bad enough that I might have to start making cookies for racers or something.)
Anyway, it’s good to be home. But I already miss the warm temperatures and the amazing people I got to know in the past few weeks. I’ve developed a weird love of grits (though they’ll never replace oatmeal), and while I had the best intentions of Spartan living while I was there, I “accidentally” discovered a ton of amazing restaurants, bars and coffee shops while exploring Athens with great new friends. I also found out quite a bit about the Georgia cyclocross scene: it’s highly localized, but there’s a serious love for the sport down there. And next year might be their best year yet, since they’re only hours away from Louisville, the site of Worlds. It’s an exciting time for our sport, especially in parts of the country that are working hard to develop their series’. Georgia has been running a series for many, many years now, and I talked with a lot of promoters about ways to grow attendance and attract new blood to the sport. Cyclocross may be a well-kept secret in some parts of the country for now, but it’s certainly becoming bigger and bigger by the year.
Of course, I wasn’t just in the South for fun and for road training. Case in point: the Southern Cross race that I did before leaving. OK, maybe that part was for fun. (Missed the report? Southern Cross Offers Hills, Gravel, Beer Feeds and 50 Miles of Fun for Racers.) But seriously, the last weekend in Georgia was very hard work. The last day I was in Georgia, the inaugural Southeast Bike Expo took place. It was 70 degrees, the sun was shining, and it was being held on the home of the Atlanta Olympic Games mountain bike course. I got to chat with Felt about their new disc-brake-equipped cyclocross bikes, got the scoop on the new SRAM Red and its cyclocross implications, learned a whole lot about Georgia Cyclocross, and got to try out some killer mountain bikes on the trails. (See? Very heavy workload.) Stay tuned for videos from Felt and highlights from the Expo!
Speaking of new products, if you haven’t checked it out yet, I got the chance to review the Rapha Women’s Classic Softshell Jacket and if you’re in the market for effortless style on the bike, this is the jacket you should be lusting after.
I’m keeping this entry brief because at the moment, I’m mid-packing for my official move to New England. As of tomorrow, I will be a resident of Western Massachusetts, home of national champion Jeremy Powers, and racers like Justin Lindine and Jeremy Durrin. To say I’m excited is an understatement. To say I’m ready for the move would be lying. But my bikes are packed, and really, who needs furniture when you’ve got that?
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.