By Cheri Felix
Cyclocross. It’s like the old boyfriend (or girlfriend) who breaks up with you not because there’s anything wrong but simply because he’s moving to a new school. But since nothing bad happened and no one cheated on anyone, you still miss each other. And you can call each other up when the other is around, or he has some unexpected free time. And you see that you’re really way more than a booty call. You are, in fact, forever friends. Like you don’t have to explain where you’ve been or who you’ve been doing it with. You just go together. Like Nutella and crepes. Or Satay and peanut sauce. Or like, pizza and pepperoni. It works.
That’s what it was like for me this past Sunday at the Amy D. Cross race. I had not raced this season. I had not trained on the bike. In fact, I’ve been running. Lots. And my husband was starting to wonder if he should list the bikes for sale. Yes, bikes. As in plural. But I’m so good at multitasking with my love, I can love running and bikes at the same time. But nothing really prepares you for running with your bike, jumping over a barrier with the bike – almost taking out a photographer – and then somehow, magically, like a unicorn, get back on the bike without ruining your chances of peeing without pain for the rest of the day. Yes, good luck with that.
The “GO” – or was it a whistle? – started the race and I could feel that all-too-familiar feeling of having absolutely NO oxygen in my legs because it was all going to slow my nervous heart rate. And so, as I tried to calm myself (after a pretty good start), off I went to race for 42 minutes. And just like that old boyfriend, I fell right into the groove. I knew what to do. My heart was jumping out of my Lycra skin suit (think “onesie”) and I rolled the off-camber turns and the grassy ups and the dirt and all that was there for the riding. And this is where I start sounding like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Shawn Curry the photographer was there. My friend Jill, Jess and Susan were there. And then there was Des, the team captain/cheerleader/organizer, I could hear her too. And Dan Farrell and Larry Grossman were there. Announcing like no others can. And it was like absolutely no time had passed.
And then it was done. And I had that lovely warm and yummy-like-butter feeling. Like I belonged to a community. And just so we’re clear, that’s the best part, feeling like people care you showed up. Like it’s more fun with you. Or at least entertaining. This past Sunday everyone rode for the memory and the legacy of Amy D. To help make it possible for more girls and young women to enter the sport of cyclocross. People came together because Amy died, and that was not lost on me. I never met Amy. I can only imagine that she’d love it. She’d love hearing people heckle the riders. She’s probably enjoy seeing me take a donut hole hand up only to almost choke 10 feet later. And without a doubt she’d be touched by all the people that knew and love her.
Cyclocross. There’s nothing quite like it.