Michelle Hancock is an athlete willing to try every discipline of cycling to really explore the different physical and mental challenges this sport offers. Read about her experience last season trying out cyclocross.
When I joined the Naked Women’s club team in 2013, I was introduced to the sport of cyclocross. It reminded me a little of running cross country. Cyclocross looked really fun, and I knew I wanted to give it a shot. So, I bought a bike and watched a bunch of YouTube videos. In 2014, I did three races of the Back to Basics cyclocross Wednesday night series. When the series ended, I left my new bike in the garage, riding it occasionally here and there.
In 2016, I decided to dust off my bike and really give cyclocross a try. Even though I really wanted to do it, this sport was out of my comfort zone. I was afraid of falling and afraid of getting hurt. At the Back to Basic Series, they had a beginner women’s race at the very end of the night which really helped to ease my anxiety. I also came early every Wednesday to do the skills sessions led by Inspired Training Center. I ended up doing about 11 cyclocross races that fall as well as the 6 races in the Back to Basics series.
Almost every weekend, I rode a different cyclocross course. I met so many women and had a blast. Cyclocross made me feel like kid. I had to let go of my fear of crashing, accept that I might be last every week, and just have fun.
My favorite races of the season were Harlow Platts, Interlocken, and Valmont. Harlow Platts was ridden on grass, and I started to feel like I was getting the hang of it. Interlocken was the Halloween race. My Naked teammates and I dressed in the theme of Wizard of Oz. I rode the course as a flying monkey which was ridiculously fun. Valmont was also fun because it was a long course with sand traps and stairs.
From cyclocross, I can tell that I have improved my bike handling skills. That’s one of the best things about cycling, there is always room for growth and improvement. Now I can truly say, “I Love Cyclocross!” I’m looking forward to another season.