I’ve been in love with cyclocross since my first race, which I remember in great, great detail. I’d been peer pressured into trying a cyclocross race because my team at the time, Rutgers University Cycling, needed women’s points in order to preserve their dominance of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. So, on a borrowed bike in pouring rain, I did my first race at Granogue in Delaware. And despite the fact that I got last, or maybe second to last, in the Women’s 3/4 field, I was hooked.
Maybe it was the childlike fun of playing in the mud. Maybe it was the sense of belonging. Maybe it was the fun that Charlie, Pat, Mark, Matt and I had in the van driving to and from races. Heck, maybe it was the skinsuits. Whatever the reason, cyclocross quickly took over my life.
I’m happy to say that I helped the team preserve their winning streak that year. The trophy for winning the overall conference? A giant cowbell. When we kept the title again the next year, and I started developing some level of competence – like learning how to remount halfway through the season – the five of us decided to get matching cowbell tattoos. It was late and we were tired and coming home from a race. But we did it, because that’s what cyclocross does to people.
The next year, my old teammate and close friend, Blake, got me onto the team he was managing, Rockstar Games/Signature Cycles. I was worried that cyclocross wouldn’t be the same after college, since I wouldn’t be with my group of close friends any more. I couldn’t have been more wrong, because I met some of the greatest people in the world that season. I also started working for Cyclocross Magazine, primarily (I believe) due to the fact that I had the cowbell tattoo. Being able to work in cyclocross meant talking to my idols – I was nearly speechless the first time I interviewed Tim Johnson, which made for an awkward phone interview – and got to spend time with great people like Adam Myerson and the whole Keough family, all under the guise of being at work. When work is also your passion, you’re the luckiest person in the world.
So when the chance to write the book on cyclocross in the US came up, I couldn’t have been more excited. Not just because I was writing a book, but because these people I’ve interviewed deserve to be recognized for their amazing talents.