Cyclocross in Florida?

On September 28, 2013 by Christian

We’re lucky to have retained the services of Ben Smith PHD of legsmith.com to provide us with some free speed for our best cyclocross season yet. Please, allow Ben to introduce himself.

Ben’s first column will run Monday, please check back then!

Cyclocross in Florida?

I moved from Seattle to Gainesvillle in 2001, five years after I hung up my cleats and retired from competitive cycling. Between 1996 and 2011 the most impressive thing I did on a bike was to ride a Wal-Mart beach cruiser a mile between home and work no-handed, suit jacket and teaching stuff crammed into my messenger bag while putting in cuff links.

In January 2011 my daughter and I were browsing content on Netflix. She randomly clicked on “The 9 Ball Diaries,” a documentary about Tim Johnson’s 2007 race season. Knowing I’d done some bike racing she asked to watch it. She asked if I knew TJ and I replied that my last CX nationals in 1995—in Leicester, MA under more than a foot of snow—was his first national championship.

Then serendipity happened. Out of the blue I received an honorarium check from an Ivy League school where I’d given a lecture 7 years prior—believe it or not they’d forgotten to pay up and I’d forgotten to follow up. On impulse I got on Ebay and blew the whole honorarium on a lightly used CX bike. It arrived a few days later, I started riding it on the miles of in-town trail in Gainesville, and two weeks later decided I might try racing again.

2 seasons, 2 teams, two cycling disciplines (CX/XC) several bikes later here I am. Fitter and healthier than I have been since I was 25, having more fun in life and now able to ride in the woods with my kids, and giving coaching a go. In the next few months I’ll be contributing some articles to flcx.org on training, cyclocross skills, fitting serious training into real life, and if you’re fortunate perhaps cooking.

Ben Smith| legsmith.com