Watching a recent beginners’ cyclocross race, my son and I noticed a middle-aged woman riding a commuter bike, complete with upright handlebars, fenders and a rear rack. She was a marked contrast to the other racers on purpose-built cyclocross bikes, wearing club jerseys with sponsors’ logos. As the pack rode off into the mud, we could not help but smile. What was she thinking, entering a race equipped like a commuter?
When the riders came by after the first lap, the “commuter” was near the back. Approaching the barriers, she slowed deliberately, got off her bike, picked it up, climbed over the barriers and remounted. It was a far cry from textbook cyclocross form, but she was smooth and fluid and fun to watch. Most of all, I admired her for putting herself out there, unafraid to be last. I hope she had a good time, but most of all, I am glad she tried something that must have intrigued her, without the inhibitions that so often make us hesitate.