The Girl with the Cowbell Tattoo: The Final Countdown

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The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

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

by Molly Hurford

There’s a feeling in the air, it’s almost electric. When my phone rings and it’s my friend and now-framebuilder calling, my heart skips a beat. Is it here? Is it ready? Is it finally time? The first UCI race of the year is less than a month away. The gloves are coming off (or, I guess, coming on, if we’re going to be all literal about it).

It’s the time of year where I finally start cleaning out the basement, organizing my gear and figuring out what needs replacing (especially since I’m starting September 10, I’m not coming home for a month straight), as well as thinking about what I can improve upon race-wise and reporting-wise from last year. Among the top things I need to get better at (racing aside) is pre- and post-race nutrition, as well as a quick transition from racer to reporter immediately after crossing the finish line. It’s like a duathlon, but with slightly cooler clothes for the reporting part. To that end, I’ve been looking at both camping equipment and landscaping equipment, and the two big items on my wishlist are a portable shower (not as goofy as it sounds, think bigger Camelbak with a showerhead rather than a mouthpiece) and a small pressure washer, like what you use to spray pesticide on weeds. Both of them can be found, at cheapest, for under $10 each, so I’m thinking they’re minor adjustments I can make that will allow for fast cleanup without making me poor before the season even begins. Any readers out there have great can’t-live-without products ready for the season? Let us know in the comments!

Actually, my extra income has been diverted into tricking out my new NFG Cycles frame. In a past article, I introduced Niall Gengler, a good friend and the owner of NFG Cycles. In case you were wondering: he knows the name is kind of hilarious, and that’s why he chose it. Anyway, he’s been working to build me a sweet custom frame, and I was a tough customer. We’ll have a ton of cool videos to share after we’re totally done with it, since we’ve documented everything from the initial discussions about what I was looking for to the drafting to the actual building of the bike. Gengler admitted to me that he both loved and hated planning my bike, since as a shorter person, I need a teensy, teensy frame. But he found some cool new ways to do it that didn’t involve just scaling everything down, and I can’t wait to take it on its maiden voyage. Some of our bigger issues were avoiding major toe overlap while not interfering with handling ability, and making it big enough that my long (for my height) forearms could fit in it comfortably while shouldering, which is a problem I’ve had with virtually all of my bikes. And I admit, my hardest decision was the color. Do I go super-serious with gunmetal? Ultra pro with red and white? Or wicked awesome with metallic lime green as a slightly sentimental nod to the fact that my first bike love, a Raleigh 1.0 from the Rutgers Team, was military green?

I’ll give you one guess. Get it? Here’s a hint.

The most exciting picture I've ever gotten.

The most exciting picture I've ever gotten.

So while I wait by my phone with bated breath, hoping Niall will call and tell me the frame is back from the painter, I’ll share one last bit of news. On an extremely exciting note for me, Mud, Snow and Cyclocross finally officially exists! I’ve seen it in PDF form, but there’s still something about seeing a real, printed copy of it that just drives the point home for me. The cover looks amazing, thanks to Natalia Boltukhova of Pedal Power Photography, and there are some fabulous photos inside from her and Dejan Smaic of Sportif Images, one of the best photographers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Additionally, at the last minute, a wonderful New England woman offered me some of her older shots from the early 90s: the ‘playground’ era of cyclocross where races were held at schools around fields and play areas. The pictures shouldn’t be missed, and I’m pretty proud of the words as well.

One last note: because of the title of this week’s column, you know this is stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.

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



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The pump spray is a great idea. We use them year round for the carpet cleaning company I work for. Best bet is the Round up 2 Gallon ones from homedepot. Fill it with the hottest water you can find before leaving the house or hotel. Trust me hot water helps a ton! Who knows if it will stay hot until after you're race.. 


Never leave home without your wool socks! I hear @cxhairs is debuting some wool models soon! I cannot wait! 




I'll second how good a insecticide sprayer works as a quick and easy to use bike washer. I get mine pumped up before CX practice so when I get home I can get some quick food, changed and then clean the bike.

Can go from a gentle misting to hard stream as well so will do a variety of jobs and is definitely suitable for cleaning legs, arms and face. 


Can't wait to see the book!!!


Congrats on the new ride as well!


I love the MSR Dromedary bag with shower kit.  Totally bomb proof and nice for rinsing bikes/limbs.  Works well if you like backpacking, too...


Best girly product:  I can't live/ride without Reflect Sport's female-specific skin/chamois cream -- .  I got a sample at Interbike a few years back and hid it away in my gear box for ages (full disclosure:  I was slightly embarrassed about the fact that it had the word HOO HA stamped in bold letters across the bottle).  Thankfully, I got over it.  Hoo Ha Ride Glide is awesome.  


Congrats on the book!  Excited to read it!!   


Molly - the insecticide sprayer works MINT for cleaning self and bike post race. Don't spend a lot of $$ - chances are you will need to replace something on it next season (we typically forget to drain ours, and the hose/sprayer freezes over the winter). We don't leave home without it during CX season (or MTB, for that matter). And congrats on the book!

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