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Cycling, Gear

A Day At The Races

Hi friends! Sorry for being MIA for, um, a long time. In my post-IM bliss, I’ve been eating good food, visiting my sisters down in Durham, catching up with friends, sleeping in — doing a lot besides training and blogging and I’m loving every minute of having my real life back. I have only been on the bike once, in the pool a few times and finally broke out the running shoes (new neon pink Newtons!) — mainly because I started getting antsy about not exercising. Even though I was in such great race shape, I hate to lose it, etc., for now, a little part of me is really enjoying the flexibility to choose not to work out.

But not to worry. I haven’t stopped thinking about training and finding ways to spend money I don’t have. And not on triathlon this time — I’ve got other things on my list that I’d love to check out, like surfing and rock climbing and, thanks to this weekend, maybe another cycling discipline. Enter: CYCLOCROSS.

I spent a rainy and cold Sunday (did D.C. skip fall and go straight to winter?) out in lovely Winchester, Va. spectating this:

And this:

And this:

Before Adam convinced me to come out and watch him race this crazy event, I more or less thought cycling was limited to road and mountain — and tri, but that’s different — and had absolutely no idea what cross was. I’m still a little fuzzy on it, but I know that it’s dirty and technical and bloody and looks like an absolute blast. You ride a short loop for a given amount of time based on your category and there are roots and obstacles and sharp turns and lots of mud pits and sometimes it’s really just faster to jump off and run. Or carry your bike up a hill so steep you only move half a step forward for every two that you take. It’s like high school cross country on crack. And really, is there any universe in which riding your bike and getting covered in mud doesn’t sound like fun?

So I hung around all day, watching various groups go off, wandering through the woods, eating brats and drinking beer, splashing around in puddles and getting an education in this very messy sport. There were women, men, kids of all ages, even a tandem category. Yes, that’s right, tandem bikes riding these steep hills and cornering and slogging through mud 3-5 inches deep.

Oh — and jumping obstacles. Air shot:

It looks like hard work and probably takes a whole hell of a lot of getting used to, but if you’re willing to get down and dirty and wipe out regularly, it could be a blast. I could be *that* girl. I really admire female cyclists in all disciplines — way more so than triathletes, honestly, because cycling is such a guy’s sport — and I wouldn’t hate to get out there and give it a shot. And it means there’s never a bike off-season. Hooray!

The little snag here is that I cannot afford a cross bike, nor do I have the space to store it. The two bikes I already have are really pushing the limits of my tiny room and my bank account. Not to mention I’d upgrade my road bike before even considering anything else. So for now I’ll just be content stomping through the mud in my Hunters and watching everyone else roll around in it and getting up the courage (and the cash) to check it out myself.

It also would mean more regular baths for the bike:

That is a whole new level, right? What would I do if the Felt ever got this dirty?!?



6 thoughts on “A Day At The Races

  1. Yeah CycloCross is that extra level of badassness over the highest level of badassness. Its like running a 5K race, you just GO!

    Here is how NOT to do a cyclocross flying dismount:

    Posted by Jon | October 3, 2011, 9:33 AM
  2. you did not have me at mud. but I will come spectate you getting all muddy.

    Posted by katie | October 3, 2011, 12:18 PM
  3. This would not be my cup of tea, but i think it would be fun to watch

    Posted by sarah | October 3, 2011, 2:00 PM
  4. After watching the video Jon posted, I think I’ll pass. haha

    Posted by Kevin | October 3, 2011, 8:35 PM
  5. This looks sweet! If only I had unlimited funds for bikes… Cycling is definately on my to do list post grad school!

    Posted by triathletestrials | October 4, 2011, 11:07 PM
  6. My boyfriend does cyclocross and it’s so.much.fun to watch!! I’ll stick to the roads myself, but man it DOES look like a good time!

    Posted by Meaghan | October 5, 2011, 2:28 PM

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