Molly Hurford, the Girl with the Cowbell Tattoo

I really like this sport. But no "more cowbell" jokes please!

First of all, a comment on the title. Yes, it’s true, as you can clearly see in the picture. I (and four of my old teammates) sport a cowbell tattoo, thanks to a whacky race weekend two years ago. Does my mother think it’s crazy? Sure. But since you’re reading this, odds are good you just laughed or nodded in understanding. Maybe you wish you had one too, or maybe you do have one! (Anyone with a cyclocross-related tattoo, please email molly [at] with a picture posthaste.)

Now that that’s taken care of, my name is Molly Hurford and I have the best job in the world: I get to live, sleep, and breathe cyclocross now that I’m the online editor for Cyclocross Magazine. I was a journalism and English major in college, and my writing and cycling worlds collided when I got into cycling three years ago by joining the Rutgers University Cycling Team in order to improve my bike leg in triathlon. There, I admit it: I was a diehard triathlete (and an Ironman) before I became a cyclocross junkie.

That soon changed: if you race cyclocross on the East Coast, you’ve probably heard of Rutgers Cycling. We’ve been called the punkest collegiate team in our conference, and we live up to the title. We also maintain another title: five-time consecutive champions in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference for cyclocross. I was clearly in good hands when my teammates bullied me into trying cyclocross for the first time. For anyone who has raced cyclocross, you know what happens after your first race: you’re hooked.

The Rutgers Cycling Cowbell Crew

Fully dedicated to cyclocross

So, for two amazing seasons, I spent every weekend from September through December, including a week in Oregon for Nationals this past winter, with the greatest bunch of cyclists and friends I’ve ever met. I also managed to become one of the top collegiate racers in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC). Since then, I graduated from Rutgers and moved on to the Rockstar Games/Signature Cycles Team, which I’ll be racing on come September. So, for all the East Coast racers here: if you see a girl in Rockstar Kit with a camera or typing away mid-pro-race this season, come say hello!

I’m a Women’s B racer, with a win in the series overall in Women’s A in the ECCC for cyclocross, as well as a two-time Women’s B overall winner. Despite my awesome collegiate rankings, I was a mid-pack finisher last season, though not without a few great races, including a third place finish at NBX in Warwick, RI, last November. Last year, I was committed to racing, but hadn’t put in the pre-season necessary to really do well (I started the season the weekend after doing an Ironman). This year, my focus is strictly on cyclocross, and I’m lucky that now my work can officially become part of my play.

Yesterday, I told everyone about my goals as the online editor of Cyclocross Magazine. However, this column is going to focus much more on my personal goals for cyclocross. My personal goal, which was super-top-secret until now, is to podium overall in both the MAC series and the Verge series in the Women’s B field this upcoming season. And I want you all there with me!

I don’t normally like to tell people my goals because if I don’t live up to them, there’s a distinct feeling of embarrassment associated with having revealed my master plan. But then again, what is bike racing without a little humiliation and public embarrassment? We’ve all seen “that guy” roll up to a curb, try to bunny hop to impress a girl, and fall flat on his face. And you know what? We started a slow clap for him when he did it. That being said, I don’t want, or expect, to fail. I believe that with the proper training plan, practice, gear and determination, I can actually meet my goals for the 2011 season. And if I do, I’m open to suggestions for something cool to get tattooed inside the cowbell!

As the weeks progress, you’ll see our content reflected in my training. If we do an article on nutrition, you can bet I’ll be following the suggestions and telling you how it goes. Column on bunny-hopping? No promises, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments and, of course, in the Cowbell Forums!

If you want to read more about my training, racing and editing exploits, you can find the painfully full version of events here: Molly’s CX Adventures.