The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

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

by Molly Hurford

Has it really been two months since I last posted? I guess that stands to reason, since two months ago I headed out on my extended adventure to Chicago, then Nationals, Worlds and beyond. By beyond, I just mean a month spent in Georgia working hard on Issue 20, exploring mountain bike trails, and checking out Southern Cross and the Southeast Bike Expo. So, how did the past two months pan out? Better than I could have possibly imagined.

My "office" in Georgia.

My “office” in Georgia.

Now that I’m finally home (or at least, the spot where my stuff lives), I have a minute to sit down and reflect on the last couple of months. 3,000 miles of driving, hours upon hours of road trip tunes blasting, countless cups of coffee sipped on the road and in coffeehouses taken over as “my office” for the day.

When I left, I was really worried about being homesick. I was also very nervous about missing my turtle, Nys. And while I did get homesick and I did miss Nys, despite getting to meet the real Nys in the flesh at Worlds, it was hard to feel sorry for myself or stay sad for more than a hot second. After all, this is what living the dream is: travel, adventure, people who care about what you care about, seeing old friends, making new ones, and doing work that you absolutely love.

The coolest parents a girl could ask for.

The coolest parents a girl could ask for.

Of course, it helped that my parents drove from New Jersey to Kentucky to watch Worlds and see me. I’ve talked before about how supportive they are, but this was next level. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend with them, but seeing them was enough to reinvigorate me for the next month on the road.

But the work was fantastic. There’s something so exciting about having Worlds and Nationals in the same month, even if it is a logistical nightmare. It felt like being part of something bigger, and nothing beat the adrenaline rush of literally sprinting from the Masters Worlds venue to the Media Center when I heard the rumor about all the elite races getting moved to Saturday. I felt like, for lack of a better phrase, a real news reporter. The stories, as they were coming out, felt like they were earth-shattering. I remember tweeting out the link to that piece with the phrase “and then, the universe exploded.” Because it felt like it had. It was so easy to get caught up in the drama and excitement of the event, and for good reason. And working with my co-editors, some of the coolest, most intense people I’ve ever met? It was one of the best months of my life.

Dusky run in Atlanta to recharge.

Dusky run in Atlanta to recharge.

The only downside? My training was … spotty, to put it mildly. During Worlds week, I didn’t do a single workout. I did get my first UCI point at Kings Cross the weekend prior, but to say that my fitness was suffering by then was a gross understatement. After being sick at Nationals, busy at Worlds, eating junk and surviving on coffee, my body was just plain grumpy.

And then, in Atlanta, Georgia, when I started sneaking out on jaunts to explore local MTB trails (as research, to test my new bike fit, obviously!), I realized something important. When I’d get back from those rides, my brain was clear. I was more alert, I was more focused on work, and frankly, the quality of my work was much better. Turns out, not taking the time to train was actually hurting my work, not helping it. Now that I’m home for a couple of weeks and my first race of the season is a bit over a month away, I’m in training mode, and it is amazing. I thought that taking a break from training was making me a better worker, since I had more hours to spend on the computer, but all it was doing was making me feel physically and mentally sluggish. It’s a strange lesson to learn: a hard 45 minute run mid-day actually saves my workday, as opposed to hurting it or exhausting me.

Back to training. And it is awesome.

Back to training. And it is awesome.

Yesterday, I said that it was the first time in months that I woke up feeling hungry. Between the on-the-road junk food and restaurant habits I’d developed, and a lack of training, I rarely woke up ready for breakfast. But now, bring on the oatmeal! It sounds minor, but for me, that’s a great indicator that I’m getting back on track. And as I’m getting back on track, we’re seeing Issue 20, the first print issue that I’m the Managing Editor of, start to really shape up into something that makes me extremely proud.

While I was gone, I gathered a ton of stories that still need to be written: the awesome team of junior girls in Louisville, Kentucky, who spent a night chatting with me about balancing school with racing cyclocross, the MTB and cyclocross bike fit that Eddie O’Dea of 55nine did for me that changed my riding style completely, the burgeoning cyclocross scene in Georgia and the way cyclocross is developing uniquely all around the US. But for right now, I’m off to get Issue 20 wrapped up so you all can relive Worlds one more time.

Lastly, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone I’ve met in the past two months. From people letting me take over guest rooms, futons and basements, to people taking me to the best places to ride and eat in whatever city I was in, to people just generally being so kind and helpful, I realize what a privilege it is to be part of such an amazing, nurturing community. And I’m so lucky that my job allows me to spend time meeting so many incredible people.

Nys the Turtle is growing up!

Nys the Turtle is growing up!

Oh, and if you were wondering: Nys doubled in size while I was gone. He was happy to see me, and even happier that I got him some new toys for his tank, and fancy plankton snacks.

Follow me on Twitter, or if you want to read more about my training, racing, and editing exploits, check out mollyhurford.com.