Excuses are like assholes, everyone has one. When it comes to Cyclocross, no one has more assholes, uh, excuses than me.
-I don’t have a bike.
-I don’t feel comfortable borrowing.
-I don’t like cleaning bikes.
-I don’t have the time.
-I don’t have the skills.
-I don’t have the money.
-I don’t like falling.
-I don’t like getting back on.
-I don’t know how to get back on.
-I don’t have a ride.
-I don’t know the rules.
-I don’t have the build for it.
-I would rather ride my other bike.
-I’m not fast enough.
-I’m not strong enough.
-I’m too old for this shit, Riggs.
-I don’t like CROSS!
So rehearsed I became with each of these excuses over the years, I no longer had to think about which response applied to the interrogation I faced every September.
One by one, each excuse sounded emptier with every gravel adventure sought out. Call it a midlife bike crisis, or caving to peer pressure, or finally acknowledging the elephant (or Hippo) in the room, but I needed to race Cyclocross!
So I found a bike, found a ride, and found a race. The first annual Hippo Cross(ing) in rural New Jersey seemed the perfect setting to be indoctrinated.
With the support of friends and teammate Seth, I rattled my way through the lumpy circuit for 35 minutes. My heart, most likely visible through the skin-suit, was being punished like never before. It was the closest I’ve come to passing out on a bike, and I still had 4 more laps.
Somewhere in between watching the fat bike races and 60 year old grandmothers hop over barricades, something clicked. A beer in hand at 11am and barbecue sauce under my fingernails, I came to terms with all but one of my excuses. While all were rooted in some kind of truth, the last one was a lie.
I don’t like cross, I love it.
What’s your excuse?