Rider Profile: Molly Hurford

About Molly:

Three years ago, I discovered cycling and never looked back. After my love affair with cyclocross started, I made it a lifestyle, and now in addition to racing for Rockstar Games, I’m the online editor for Cyclocross Magazine and freelance for other cycling publications.

Race Report: Tour of High Bridge

Placing: 5th

When there’s a race that I can ride my bike to as a warm-up, I’m excited. And when there’s a road on the course that’s so rough it practically mimics a cyclocross course, I’m absolutely thrilled. Of course, when there’s a hill that would be considered a run up on the ‘cross course, I’m a bit intimidated, but that’s bike racing!

In the past few weeks, I’ve gone from back of the pack (let’s be honest, off the back of the pack) at the Tour of Ohio to actually feeling like a bike racer again, thanks to the Tour of High Bridge. The field was Open Women and there were about 16 women in the race, which is tiny but there were some pretty strong women racing. I felt like I should be intimidated, but after pre-riding the weekend before and having three hard weeks of serious training under my belt thanks to my new coach, I was feeling ready to go race bikes.

When the announcer yelled, “go,” off we went, speedily going for about 200 yards before we hit what can only be referred to as “the wall.” One of the steepest hills I’ve ever encountered, followed by more hill, then another, then hitting that cyclocross-style segment of rough road. While I may not be particularly fast on the hills, I managed to hang in with the pack, and right before the rough road, I pushed my way to the front so I could hit it going fast and not behind anyone else. The course was 3.3 miles, and after the rough road there was one last hill, then a screaming downhill before the “easy section” began. The hill, like the first, sent me towards the back of the pack, but the downhill was a surprise and I found myself passing by most of the girls as I descended. The hill had a couple of twists that could have been scary (and they were), but they were also crazy fun.

By the time we hit the easier section, the pace let up and even though my brain was reminding me to sit in and rest so I could finish well, my legs were feeling good and I ended up leading for a good chunk of the time. The second time around, it was pretty much the same story. But on the third time, when we hit the hill, the group started splitting. One girl went off the front and stayed off, though still within eyesight. I pushed as hard as I possibly could in order to stay with the main break, and caught up with them as the rough road started. On that section, all I really remember is hearing Betty Tyrell, one of my favorite racers, just yelling, “go girl” over and over again. So I went very, very, very hard. I led a lot again on the easy section, though this time it was pretty darn hard. By the time we finished the lap, there were seven of us (or something like that, I couldn’t see with all the blood rushing to my head as I hit that hill.)

As we went into the last lap, the group splintered even more. Betty and another woman took off on the hill, as did two riders behind them. Then, there was me. Luckily, that rough road was easy for me like the hills were easy for them, and by the time we hit the end of that section, I had caught the two girls. On the next hill, two girls caught us, and we were a group of five, chasing three women ahead of us.

As we zoomed into town and curved to the right onto the finishing straight, we could see second and third place just a few seconds up, and one girl started to go. I went after her, as did another rider. I passed the one girl and thought I had fourth in the bag, but the other girl came up on my left without me noticing, right before the line. Still, fifth place isn’t so bad when it’s a race that hard.

Afterwords, I got to see one of my best friends on Rockstar race and do amazing things to help a teammate, and saw another Rockstar racer manage to hold on to the pack in the feature race. For a small race in New Jersey, it was great to see so many familiar faces (and kits)!

One comment

  1. I missed the race for the first time in four years but your post makes me feel like I was there!

    Comment by David Parker on August 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

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