Pouring down rain at CXLA
By Alexis Ryan
“Pouring down rain is something of a rarity around here, so when you throw in drunkards who want you to grab dollar bills from the gluteus maximus pockets of their shredded Levi’s and bunny hop 40cm barriers, and REAL music played by a LIVE band, it can turn into quite the party. Southern California may be sub-par to Belgium in terms of efficiently executing races, but there’s something about our culture and the composition of our MUD that brings a whole new meaning to the famous line performed by Johnny Cash, ‘Kickin’ and a gougin’ in the mud and the blood and the beer.’
Now that I’ve got my most creative paragraph out of the way, I’d like to answer all the questions you’re dying to have answered. Where have I been? What have I been up to? How did I end up in downtown Los Angeles on a rainy Saturday night? It’s also highly possible you could careless about these things because you have no idea who I am. If the former, you’re on the right page. If the latter, you’re not on the right page, but reading makes you smart, so stay awhile.
I’m currently attending the University of California, Santa Barbara (Gaucho pride, baby!), majoring in Biology. An average day: eat, sleep, study, RIDE, and try to have a social life. My focus in cycling is the road, but to break up the monotony of base miles a girl needs to have a little fun and get her bike dirty. Dorothy Wong, race promoter for the SoCal Cyclocross Series, has been a dear friend of mine for many years and asked if I’d represent The TEAM/SoCal Cross at her UCI race. Of course I wasn’t going to say no. That’s how I ended up in downtown Los Angeles on a rainy Saturday night. I know, my stories are so intriguing. You can ‘t get enough, can you? How about we talk less nonsense and more racing?
Katerina Nash, Julie Krasniak, Caroline Mani, and Meredith Miller, to name a few of my female competitors. Yes, I’m five feet, five and a half inches, barely-legal, and sometimes live up to my hair color–blonde. This is who I decided to race against after several months of zero-intensity training. Its all fun and games though, right?! A back row call-up and too big of a gear (rookie move) had me fighting for position the first couple of laps. I settled into about 10th place, which I was perfectly content with, until my silly bike thought it would be fun to have ballet practice in the middle of the course. Pirouette across the slimy ground we did, indeed! A dropped chain, five lost positions, bruises, scrapes, and seconds later I was jumping back on my bike, thinking to myself, ‘Alexis, surely, you must be insane! How is it that beating your body against the ground and being covered from head to toe in mud is FUN? Well, thinking about it now won’t do you any good. There’s still a race to be finished, more mud that needs to get stuck in your teeth, and people who need to heckle you.’ I rode in, grinning, to 15th place overall and the first U23 rider. Hooray for podium swag!”
It’s not your average, run-of-the-mill race report, but I needed to write something fun to offset all the formality at school. Thanks for asking me to write something, I needed this to spark my imagination again!