The love of dirt, then mud

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - LETTERS -

I’ve al­ways loved bik­ing. When I dis­cov­ered moun­tain bik­ing, how­ever, it was a whole new love. This new love bor­dered on ob­ses­sion. I just wanted to do it all the time. I com­pletely ne­glected my road bike be­cause that was time that I could use for moun­tain bik­ing. All the time I spent in the sad­dle was on the dirt and among the trees.

A few years ago, I met a boy. He was happy to in­dulge my love of moun­tain bik­ing and quickly bought a moun­tain bike to join me on rides. All the time we spent to­gether bik­ing, he kept talk­ing about this other type of bik­ing, cy­clocross. Cy­clocross was a dis­ci­pline I had never heard of. He spoke of it with such joy in his voice. He de­scribed the cour­ses, the mud, the heck­ling, the mud – but did I men­tion the mud? He went on about how it was the hard­est phys­i­cal thing he had ever done in his life, and that is say­ing some­thing.

The weather started to get a lit­tle colder, and lo and be­hold, cy­clocross season was upon us. Af­ter hear­ing all this talk about cy­clocross, I agreed to try it. I signed up for the whole Eastern On­tario cy­clocross se­ries. I can now tes­tify that he was right. It is a phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing event that pushes you to your lim­its. And boy, was he right about the mud! I de­vel­oped a love/hate re­la­tion­ship with this new sport: the love of push­ing my­self around cor­ners in the mud and the hate of the car­dio pain.

At the last cy­clocross O-cup of 2017, held in Belleville, Ont., we drove down from Ottawa to par­tic­i­pate. The weather was cold, -2 C, but no snow. The course was fun and twisty. I ended up plac­ing third in the race af­ter only a few races into the sport. I proudly got to stand on the podium and re­ceived my medal. I’m proud of my ef­forts this year and look for­ward to next year’s ’cross season – maybe not, how­ever, with the same zeal that I look for­ward to next year’s moun­tain bik­ing season.

Kelly Doyle Ottawa

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