In my brief tenure as an editor at Cyclocross Magazine, I have no doubt beat the #crossiscoming hashtag into the ground. However, thanks to Canadian Maghalie Rochette, there is a new term to describe the feel of excitement cyclocross brings: Cyclocross Fever.
According to Rochette, you know you might have the cyclocross fever if “you are doing the groceries and you pick the best lines and shred the heck out of that corner with your shopping cart.” One can only imagine the seriousness of the ailment for those who check the tire pressure on their shopping carts and try shouldering them over “wet floor” signs.
This upcoming cyclocross season, a lucky woman cyclocross racer aged 17 to 22 will have the opportunity to learn first hand from Rochette what it’s like have a fever for ’cross. Rochette recently announced the “CX Fever Grant,” which will provide a young woman with the opportunity to fly to Louisville for the Continental Championships in November and be part of the Clif Pro Team for the weekend. The winner will get to ride the course with Rochette and her teammates and get the full pro experience from the team.
Interested readers can get information about the CX Fever Grant from Rochette’s website at maghalierochette.com. The contest is open to any Junior 17-18 or U23 woman who lives in the U.S. or Canada and is planning on racing at November’s Continental Championships in Louisville.
Perhaps because Rochette’s enthusiasm—or dare I say, fever—for bike racing is infectious, I reached out to her to ask her for the full diagnosis for the CX Fever Grant. I was especially curious to learn if the only prescription for Cyclocross Fever is, in fact, more cowbell.
Interview: Maghalie Rochette on the CX Fever Grant
Cyclocross Magazine: What is Cyclocross Fever and is there a cure?
Maghalie Rochette: To me, the atmosphere at the races, the feeling of riding a ’cross bike in all sorts of conditions that make you wonder with excitement “is this bike really made for what I’m doing now,” the camaraderie among the community and the very intense and fun racing are all things that make this sport so great and addictive. I feel like everyone who starts being involved in cyclocross wants to do more, so the only way I can really explain that passionate and addictive feeling I have about cyclocross is to say that I have the Cyclocross Fever.
“I feel like everyone who starts being involved in cyclocross wants to do more, so the only way I can really explain that passionate and addictive feeling I have about cyclocross is to say that I have the Cyclocross Fever.”
In other words, you know you have the Fever if you finish a weekend of racing and all you can think of is how awesome that past weekend of racing was and how excited you are for the next weekend of racing. Your symptoms are even more serious if you are doing the groceries and you pick the best lines and shred the heck out of that corner with your shopping cart. In that case, the only cure is to do more cyclocross and get outside and have fun on your bike.
CXM: Where did the idea of the Cyclocross Fever travel grant come from?
MR: I’ve been wanting to find a way to help in this sport for a long time, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. Giving money is nice, but I felt like there was more than just money that I wanted to and could share. I feel like I am very lucky to be racing professionally and ever since I started racing ’cross at about 18, people have always helped me out and given me a chance.
Stu Thorne and Chandler Delinks gave me a chance when I started and brought me up on the CyclocrossWorld Devo team, where people like Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon took their time to ride courses with me and give me advice. Then I was picked up by LUNA [now Clif Pro Team] and my teammates have always been extremely generous in sharing their time, experience, knowledge and skills with me. All these people have had a huge impact on my life as a cyclist and also as a person.
I just felt like it was my turn to help someone and share the little bit of experience that I have. I also felt like we have a great structure on the Clif team and that it would be nice if someone else could benefit from these resources. I suggested the idea of having an “intern” to our team director Dave McLaughlin and he was extremely supportive of the project, so we went for it.
“I just felt like it was my turn to help someone and share the little bit of experience that I have.”
CXM: Who is eligible and what can they expect if they’re chosen?
MR: Anyone who lives in Canada or the U.S. and who will be racing in the Youth Women Category [Junior 17-18 or U23] in the 2017-18 season is eligible. The grant recipient will basically become a member of the Clif Pro Team for the weekend. All their travel expenses will be covered, they will have access to world class mechanics and soigneur, and they will hang out, pre ride and race with my teammates and me. They can expect a busy and super fun weekend.
There will be more surprises once the weekend arrives as well.
CXM: What are you hoping young women get from spending time with you and your team?
MR: I’m hoping that this experience inspires them to keep growing in the sport of cyclocross. Personally, when I started hanging out with champions like my teammates, my world of possibilities grew exponentially. Suddenly I knew people who were winning the World Championships, and I realized that they were normal people, so that allowed me to believe that I could also achieve all that if I worked for it. It made all my dreams more tangible.
I’m hoping that this experience will open their eyes and encourage them to believe that they can make a living in cyclocross as a woman and have a great time doing it. I also hope that they will learn some things about riding and racing, but also about everything else that comes with the sport like training, organization and taking care of your equipment. My goal is also to use that opportunity to introduce that person to as many people as possible in the small world of cyclocross; having connections is important and it is easier to be integrated into a community when someone else introduces you to it.
Finally, I’m hoping we’ll just connect and have a good time together. Our team is really fun and welcoming so I think it will be a great time!
CXM: Who is helping sponsor the Cyclocross Fever grant?
MR: The Clif Pro Team is the number one sponsor of the Cyclocross Fever grant. When I proposed that project, they were 100 percent supportive. The team even said they would match the sum I can raise on top of supporting with all the resources they have to offer. The other sponsors of the fund are all the people who have the Fever and want to buy Cyclocross Fever socks and t-shirts or who want to donate to the fund.
Right now, I am covering the cost of the socks, so if you buy a pair of Cyclocross Fever socks, every single dollar of your purchase goes to the fund. I also have t-shirts and new models of socks coming out soon. [ed. note: the cute dancing pimento on the current socks is worth checking out]
I wanted to start small, so this is the first project we are doing and we will re-evaluate after it’s done. I’m hoping it will grow into something bigger, and hopefully we will be able to create more opportunities for young cyclocross racers in the future. This particular project targets women, but if we are able to create more opportunities in the future, I have ideas for projects that would involve young men as well.
That being said, if I am able to raise more money than what is necessary to cover that first project, the money won’t be wasted. I plan on using any extra money on future grants and projects.
Interested women aged 17-22 can apply at maghalierochette.com. Stay tuned for a longer interview with Rochette about her summer of mountain bike racing and plans for the upcoming cyclocross season.