Work has been so insanely busy and stressful this week that I didn’t even have time to write anything yesterday. Sorry guys. Luckily it’s Friday and while it’s still every bit as stressful and busy I’m taking a few minutes to write, dammit.
A relatively new addition to the blogging community, Now That’s The Spot has picked a great topic for her first Blog Hop. She asked What other activities, hobbies, or sports do you do outside of riding?
I am one of those
crazy stupid masochistic people who has to split my time between two very time consuming and expensive hobbies. Up until a few years ago horses were really my only thing. I’ve tried a lot of random stuff over the years but nothing else really “stuck”. Then I decided to take a little break from horses to practice this weird thing called financial responsibility (it’s overrated and boring). What I noticed was that I apparently have a really obsessive personality and having grown up at the barn, I had zero clue what normal people do with their lives and all of their free time. It was mind-boggling. So of course as soon as I found another all consuming hobby, triathlon, I jumped in with both feet. I even convinced my brother to do a few triathlons with me, which made it extra fun.
I swam as a kid so while I’m only average, speed wise, I’m pretty comfortable in the water. I also discovered that I have a natural affinity for the bike. Speed and power came really easily to me. I have to say that triathlon was a little intoxicating for me… having been a rider all my life, and never having been anything but average no matter how hard I tried, it was pretty exhilarating for me to wander into a new sport and do really well right off the bat. I won 50% of my races and was on the podium all but twice, with my worst ever finish being 5th. I was just so much faster than the vast majority of the other girls on the bike, I was able to get and usually keep a pretty good lead. Unfortunately the run was always my Achilles heel (no pun intended)… I have an ankle condition that makes running super painful after only a few minutes. I gutted it out for a long time, even doing a half marathon at one point, hoping it would get better but in the end it was just too debilitating and my only option to possibly help my condition was a pretty major surgery. I opted to hang up my running shoes instead. But in that couple years of triathlon I had a lot of fun and was definitely in the best shape of my life, and I’m not gonna lie – having a big box full of medals and awards is something I’ll always treasure.
So after I decided to quit running I switched to just road cycling and tried my hand at some crit races. They were sorta fun but honestly I just didn’t mesh with that crowd very well. I found them a bit too clique-ish and awfully damn hipster for my taste (yes, I SAID IT). Then SO bought me a CX bike for my birthday and convinced me to try this absolutely ridiculous sport called cyclocross.
Basically imagine a bike sport that a bunch of 10 year olds would invent if you got them drunk and let them loose in a park. You ride mostly over grass but sometimes dirt, gravel and pavement. There’s switchback turns, steep up and down hills, off-camber, sand pits, barriers that you have to jump off your bike and run over (I’m not kidding), sometimes it’s super muddy, sometimes there’s stairs, etc. But everyone is just so laid back and having such a ridiculously good time, it makes it crazy fun. The crowd is encouraged to do this thing called hand-ups… basically they stand beside the course with “treats” (usually a Twizzler or a cup of beer) and offer it to you as you whiz by. Ever tried to chug a beer in the middle of a race? And you’ve never lived until you’ve taken a particularly sandy Twizzler from a random kid (preferably without using your hands) and tried to eat it while pedaling your butt off. Races are only about 30-45 minutes usually, and you’re basically at your max heart rate the entire time. You fall, you bleed, you get muddy, you freeze your balls off, you can’t breathe, you want to die, but it’s the most fun you can have on a bike, period.
Cyclocross is a “winter” sport, season runs from Oct-Jan. The rest of the year I just ride on the road to keep some fitness, but I really only care about ‘cross season. I try to ride my bike to work as much as possible too, since it’s a pretty short commute for me and traffic isn’t too bad.
Otherwise that’s really it, I don’t have time for much else. I’d like to get back into triathlon a little bit next year, just short ones so that I don’t have to run much. We’ll see how things shake out. Until then – it’s almost CROSS SEASON. And Nationals are in Austin this year too!