I am hyped. Like a kid who just got a new toy and wants to play with it nonstop hyped. I’m back in the cyclocross game.
It’s been two years since I last mounted my Kona cyclocross bike. I started racing ‘cross about 10 years ago. I quickly became addicted to the rush of trying to understand the strategies, skills, and tactics of a new sport. The highly-charged atmosphere is a mix of moto-cross circuit, European beer garden, circus sideshow, family-friendly spectating, and legit bike racing. I loved it. And then I started to not love it. My busy season at work coincided with CX season, which meant my training, warm up and race were pretty much within the same 45 minutes each week. Having super young kids at the time determined which cat I was going to race. Race start times in the age group cats were closer to my husband’s start time versus my racing in Cat 4, therefore significantly cutting down the amount of time spent at the venue. However, age groups contain ex-pros and former Cat 1/2 racers who took no mercy on my sorry ass. I went from placing in the upper quarter to bottom half, with my confidence taking a similar nosedive. Facebook posts about friends doing well made me feel bad about my performance instead of feeling happy for them. So, when the Boulder floods of ’13 damaged my basement and a home move consumed me in ’14, it was really easy to scapegoat those excuses into not racing.
And I was OK with not racing until I started to miss it a little bit. Maybe it’s like childbirth or the pain of a bikini wax, you forget the negatives with the passing of time.
Within those two years I regained some mojo on a mountain bike, important for bike handling skills. I climbed a ridiculous amount of elevation on my road bike. I left full-time work. I read articles about “Facebook depression” and consciously remind myself that someone else’s CX success is not my failure, and why the heck was I taking it – and myself – so seriously?!
So, when CrossPropz’ clinics came about I decided to literally get back on the saddle sooner than later. On the way to Valmont Bike Park I played. I leaned my bike over and loaded weight on the outside wheel. I swerved like a kid, linking carve after carve. During the clinic I listened and focused and did what Paul McCarthy, owner of CrossPropz, and ‘cross champion Pete Webber directed. These two accomplished racers and coaches made it fun with solid, usable tips. What stuck with me the most was a comment by Paul, to wit, “None of us here is even close to committing our lives to cyclocross, so get that out of your mind and just have fun.” My God, that’s what I needed to hear. Practice. Improve skills. Know strategies and tactics. All that points to a more fun experience. But I’m not going to go pro, so leave that pressure behind. Love it because it’s ridiculously fun sport. I’m back, and I’m hyped.
*UPDATE: I raced the J Pow CX Kickoff and had an awesome time, running early laps with smiles before the dirt and dry 95 degree heat wiped it from my face. I beat the pants off a bunch of guys and got 27th out of 97 in the C race. Hup! Hup!