They say that passion is a strong and uncontrollable emotion.
From the moment I first jumped on a cyclocross bike and entered a race, I fell in love with the sport. With every additional ride and every event I entered, my love for the sport kept growing…At some point, after a few years of riding and racing, I started feeling a weird, uncontrollable excitement every time I was thinking about cyclocross. And I could never stop thinking about it.
It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what makes me feel this way about cyclocross. It could be the sense of community that surrounds the sport, where everyone wants to help each other and everyone works together to make the sport better. Even if we turn ourselves inside out to beat one another during the race, once we cross the finish line, we know we couldn't do this if it wasn't for the others, so everyone embraces the competitive spirit and the fact that we all make each other better.
It could also be the festive and positive atmosphere that we find at a cyclocross venue; where no one judges and everyone is free to be completely themselves. Actually, being different is something sought after in cyclocross. Everyone is there to have a good time, cheer on the others, push themselves to find new limits, and once it's all set and done, laugh about it over a beer while watching the afternoon's races.
The actual racing is also very addictive to me. The races are short and super intense, so if you want to do well, you absolutely need to be 100% focused on the present moment during the race. All your senses need to be sharp. I love the feeling of shredding corners, the challenge to conquer a particularly difficult section, I love the tactical aspect of racing and I love that feeling of digging deeper than what you ever thought possible, just so you can hang on to one more position or make it up a very steep climb. Sometimes, when I'm nervous before a race, I just take a second to imagine myself riding on the course and all of a sudden, I naturally start smiling and the butterflies in my belly start flying in formation, rather than chaotically disturbing my stomach.
I just love everything about this sport. It's actually quite difficult to explain how it makes me feel. That uncontrollable excitement has never left me and it's so powerful that I can only compare it to some type of fever…a very warm and positive type of fever. I call it CX Fever.
After a while of feeling this way about cyclocross, I started realizing that I had found my element – that thing I am madly passionate about and in which I want to fully invest myself.
CX Fever Fund
One of my biggest goals with the CX Fever is to make it viral. I want to share that joy with as many people as possible and make them as excited as I am to ride their cyclocross bikes.
Ever since I started racing, I’ve been very lucky to have good people supporting me, mentoring me, and allowing me to develop through the sport of cyclocross. Recently, I felt like I wanted to do the same thing and share this opportunity with a young girl to learn more about the sport she loves; CX Fever seemed like the perfect platform to do so. The CLIF Pro Team and I partnered up and were very happy to welcome Hannah Bauer to our team for a full weekend of racing at the Continental Championships, in Louisville.
We received over 30 applications from young, motivated girls from Canada and the US. It was extremely motivating for me to read all of them and get to know these young cyclocross racers a little more. It has also been quite overwhelming to see the support of the cyclocross community about the project; so many people got into it and wanted to help with the project. I guess I am not the only one feeling the Fever! I won't lie though, it was extremely hard to make a decision and select only one girl to be a part of the project. However, when I read her application, it was very clear to me that Hannah Bauer had a strong CX Fever.
Hannah is a 17 year old girl from North Carolina. She started racing cyclocross 2 years ago and is now part of the J.A King cycling team in her home state. Hannah is a very serious student, being part of the Model United Nations program. She was quick to tell me how the sport has helped her grow into the woman she is today. When asked why she had the fever, she simply responded “Because it’s impossible not to! If you know me, you know I like a challenge; I will do whatever it takes to tear down any obstacle standing in my way. Luckily I found cyclocross, because this crazy sport has faced me with the most difficult barriers, from facing my fears and taking time off the bike to get over a bad injury.”
Hannah's drive is contagious and the whole team is anxious to be spending the weekend with her. Our hope is that she leaves the weekend more in love with the sport than she was when she arrived and that she is even more motivated to pursue her goals.
See you all at the next cyclocross race. Watch out though, because the Fever... it's contagious.