The Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo

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

by Molly Hurford

It’s been over a year since I first started at Cyclocross Magazine, and — wow — what a year it’s been! I hadn’t even realized that it had been a year since I started working for the magazine until I was interviewing Luke Keough post-Somerville race. Last year, he was one of my first interview guinea pigs when he and the rest of the team were staying with me after the race and I met him for the first time. Last week, as we did the most recent interview, I realized that my audio recordings were almost the exact same day, just a year different. Hard to believe that a whole year has passed. Also, looking back, it’s hard to believe just how intimidated I was by some of these racers who have since become among my closest friends.

Luke Keough relaxes during a mid-ride ice cream break. © Molly Hurford

Here, Luke Keough relaxes during a mid-ride ice cream break. I see why I was so intimidated! © Molly Hurford

Racing at the Tour of Somerville last year was fun (as Luke Keough put it, “I mean, it’s Somerville!”) and while back then I was lucky enough to be able to race, it wasn’t until this year that I felt like I was actually racing. Rather than sitting in with the pack and hoping for an OK result in the sprint, I decided that my entire goal for the race was to go a little bit crazy trying to grab one of the primes. I figured that this sprint would ultimately ruin any chance I had at a final sprint, but then again when you’re up against Laura Van Gilder, you’re not exactly thinking that you’ve got a chance.

Long story short, because unless it’s cyclocross, I refuse to write a full race report, I did manage to snag second in one of the primes. But even better than the whopping $20 that I won was hearing from Van Gilder that the move I made to snag that spot was actually a good one. I’m learning!

Looking back on my columns from last summer, I feel a weird sense of deja vu. Things that I was saying and doing last summer are similar to what I’ve been doing in the past couple of months, though my competence has risen drastically over the last 12 months. Last May, I wrote about how I’d taken up occasionally hitting the trails on the mountain bike, and take them without being scared of crashing or riding nerve-wracking sections. This year, I’ve been all about the MTB, getting a new 29″-er and spending most of my ride time on the trails in the area. I even took it a step further and started racing, and the next time that I race, it will be as a Cat 1.

In addition to the Tour of Somerville, I’ll be re-racing the Harlem Crit in just a couple of weeks. Yet another race I have a lot to make up for, though at least last year the announcer was nice enough to point out just how angry I looked in the start of the race. Yet another weird deja vu moment, actually, since just the other day someone was telling me that was one of their favorite parts about watching me race: the silly faces I make. Wonderful. But hey, if I can provide amusement from mid-pack, I’m all about it.

From looking back to my old columns, I notice one very prominent trend weaving throughout. I’m unfailingly impressed with just how much cyclocross has provided me with a family of amazing people, from my early days of racing with the Rutgers Cycling team (come on, matching tattoos!) to where I am now with the wonderful people that live and ride with me. It truly has been like having a huge extended family that grows with every race and every event. In working on my book on cyclocross, those relationships have gotten even deeper, spread even farther, and have allowed me to see into the world of cyclocross in so many new ways. When I was younger, when I first learned how to write, all I ever wanted to do was be able to write for a living. And now, that’s become a reality. When I talked about “living the dream” this time last year, I don’t think I had any notion of just how true that would be. Finding cyclocross when I did was the luckiest thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t think any other sport or activity could have compared on any level.

So on that note, I’m about to head out on a ride in the hub of cyclocross on the East Coast. If, this time last year, you’d asked where I thought I’d end up, I never would have guessed this. It’s amazing how things have a way of working out. Thank you all so much for reading, and I can’t wait to see what the next year of Cyclocross Magazine will bring!

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