I’m itching to try something new.
Don’t worry, it’s not contagious.
Fortunately, when this happens, I know exactly what I need to do.
Sign up for a physical adventure that costs money.
Why? Well, because once you pay for something, it becomes real. I’ve said that about every race I’ve ever entered. You can talk about training all you want but if you haven’t actually paid money for a race entrance fee, then you’re not really doing the race.
Because you don’t have anything on the line.
Even if you tell yourself differently.
So here I am, in fantastic shape due to CrossFit three times a week, training for a half-marathon at altitude (Aspen, I’m looking at you) and STILL looking to try something new. Because I’m crazy like that. There’s just something in me that longs for the taste of something different.
And that, my friends, is why I’m going to give cyclocross a try.
(Breathe Mom…it’s not motorcross. You don’t have to pray that hard while I do it.)
What is cyclocross?
It’s kinda similar to mountain biking and done on a bike somewhat similar to a road bike, with an obstacle course thrown in for fun. And some mud.
I started hearing about the Boulder cyclocross scene when I worked with one of the sport’s *loudest* and most enthusiastic evangelists, Greg Keller. His blog about cyclocross, Mud and Cowbells, does a great job of capturing and expressing his passion for the sport. I began to follow his blog, reading about the local cyclocross courses and checking out a few videos.
The sport certainly looked fun. That mud! Those cowbells! And, of course, all that “Hup Hup Buttercup”-hollering and noise-making, which certainly didn’t detract from the good times.
But I wasn’t ready to buy a new bike.
Until I got my tax return from Uncle Sam…and heard news that my old friends had just bought a bike shop. Turns out I was ready to invest in a new bike.
My old buddy Dewey hooked me up with a sweet cyclocross setup and it’s wonderful how things come full circle. Honestly, although Greg got me turned on to cyclocross in Boulder, Dewey was the first person to tell me about the sport way back when…in 1996. We used to live in the same neighborhood in Laramie and would ride bikes around town together.
One day, we were tooling around the university when we came to a huge concrete set of steps. Dewey hopped off his bike and gave me my first introduction to cyclocross. He showed me how to throw the bike over my shoulder and then instructed me to run up the steps. I thought he was crazy but I did it. Although slightly painful with my heavy mountain bike frame from the early 90′s, I definitely saw the potential in the sport.
After that little lesson, Dewey taught me how to do the cyclocross dismount. It’s a little more complicated than simply getting off your bike because you want to keep moving and not come to a standstill. Fortunately, I’ve had that move down pat for the past ten years or so. Even in cute flats.
I’ve got my cyclocross bike, I’ve got my in-town coach (Thanks Greg!) and my out-of-state coach ready to help. This past Saturday, I made the challenge a reality, paid my dues and signed up with a local team. The team is affiliated with the Boulder Cycle Sport shop and comes highly recommended. (Thanks Greg!) One of the perks of the team is that they have a tent at local Boulder races where you can get your bike worked on before/after the race. For someone like me, that itself is worth the price of the team.
Not to mention there are training rides, weekly coaching clinics and many muscular men in Spandex like-minded athletes. If nothing else, I’ll be motivated to cheer my teammates on (because I love obnoxious yelling more than the next person!) and will have the resources necessary to set myself up for success my first season of cyclocross.
And when I say success, I’m not talking podium success…simply surviving-the-season success.
(I leave the podiums to my friend Ingrid.)
Back to that whole jumping-in thing
Starting soon, I’ll be learning a new sport and it may end up being something else that I suck at. But it’s time to find out and to see how my core strength holds up on a cyclocross course, how I hold up on my bike and how my clavicle holds up during a race.
(I haven’t broken a bone yet and would hate to start with my first season of cyclocross…*cough* Greg Keller *cough*…)
And you know what, cyclocross might also turn out to be a sport and physical activity that I totally love. I mean, we are talking about a combination of bikes, running and mud here.
Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I’m a little nervous.
But what’s not to love about that?