The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

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

by Molly Hurford

Normally, when people finish a race and say, “Oh, the wheels just came off in the last lap,” they aren’t being literal. My race on Sunday, however, is a different, much more literal interpretation of the statement. On the runup in the last lap, my front wheel popped off the bike, and I watched as it … rolled back down the hill. To say that it was a demoralizing moment, staring at my wheel at the bottom of the hill, is an understatement. But, I ran back down the hill, reattached the runaway wheel, and finished the race, losing the three spots that I had worked so hard for in the last couple of laps of the race. But you know what? I finished laughing. Frustrated, sure. There may have been a few expletives thrown around out of earshot of the officials. But still: if you can’t see the comedy of that, then why race?

Looking pro and feeling tough going over the barriers on Saturday at Nittany. Ryan Malinchak

Looking pro and feeling tough going over the barriers on Saturday at Nittany. © Ryan Malinchak

The season started two weekends ago with Rochester, New York, for Ellison Park Cyclocross. It was … hard. I love my new bike, but I’ve only had the chance to ride it a couple of times prior to racing on it, and it was a huge adjustment when I realized it cornered very differently than my old ride. It corners amazingly, but it’s much more of a full-body motion to take a corner at speed. Still, I surprised myself by being one of the few women who bunny-hopped a log on Day 2 every single lap. Without crashing, even! Thanks to mountain biking, my handling has gotten a lot better, but that weekend, my fitness was a little lacking, thanks in part to serious sleep deprivation, but more because, as I found out later in the week when I gave in and went to Urgent Care, I was really sick. Not ideal for a kickoff to six straight weeks of travel, but such is life.

It’s been a brutal start to the season, because not only am I racing and reporting, I have Mud, Snow and Cyclocross. All are equally important to me, but man, are they ever hard to juggle. For example, I’m writing this from Las Vegas, after a night awake in an airport (traveling with a bike is hard!). On Wednesday, I’ll work Interbike, I’ll set up my book tent at CrossVegas (so exciting!), I’ll race the women’s pro race, and then, I’ll cover the men’s race. After that? Party, of course! It is Vegas, after all. Though what happens in Vegas isn’t staying in Vegas at all, considering the amount of amazing content we’ll be throwing your way in the coming days.

Molly bread from Iain Bainfield

Molly bread from Iain Bainfield

Lastly, can we talk about how amazing Australian cyclocross is? The baker behind the prize loaves of bread for the Dirty Deeds Cyclocross Series made me my own special loaf of bread, even if I can’t be there to enjoy it!

Stay tuned for CrossVegas coverage, infinite amounts of info on awesome new tech for this season and beyond, interviews with some of our favorite riders, my trial of some incredibly cool looking new Pearl Izumi shoes at the race tomorrow (remember ‘jelly sandals’ from when we were kids? Think about them. And get psyched.). We’ve got all that, and the buck certainly doesn’t stop there, since I’ll be heading straight to Madison for the USGP this weekend!

Now, if you don’t mind, it’s time for me to get back to work, since tonight, I’ll be busy at Yayo Taco celebrating the “official start of cyclocross” and hanging out with some of my favorite people in the sport. Forget Interbike, forget the race. The best part about being here is that walking into any of these bike events feels like walking in to a family reunion. A really weird, cool family.

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