So, I turn 30 today. That’s a scary thing to write, for someone who still kind of feels like she’s 17. I didn’t think much about the fact that I would be hitting this milestone back when I was, say, 28. But in the past year, it definitely felt like something flipped a switch in me to ‘on,’ and I started realizing that there were a couple of major goals that I really wanted to hit this year. Things like coming out with two new books, doing some major web redesigns, and making a push to work with some publications that I’ve long admired (and sticking with the ones that I already was thrilled to be writing for!).
Others came a lot more naturally: I got married. We traveled, a lot—for work, but with fun mixed in. We have another major milestone that will happen at the end of this month (no, it’s not kids or a dog).
But I’m speeding up here. Whether this is going to be something that people find interesting to read, or just as sort of a review for myself, I wanted to slow down for a hot minute and look back at some of the stuff that’s happened in the last year. (As I started writing this, I realized that it was A LOT OF STUFF. So I’m sorry it’s long.)
We got a van, and started The Consummate Athlete Podcast
Technically, this was while I was still 28, but the podcast kicked off just a month before I hit 29, so I’m counting it. The van wasn’t quite our entry into full-on #vanlife, but it was a big step in making our travels a whole lot easier. It’s way nicer when you can comfortably sleep in your van between places, and the overall savings from having a more reliable vehicle than my old truck plus avoiding hotels, and the hours saved unloading and reloading the truck bed more than made it worthwhile.
As for the Consummate Athlete Podcast, we dreamt that up over the course of a few months, realizing that we both wanted to start a podcast to play with that genre of media and that we wanted to talk to all different athletes, not just cyclists. So, we got started. And we’ve learned A TON along the way. We’ve had NASCAR drivers, world-renowned authors and researchers, NFL players, pro cyclists and tons of amazing guests, and we’ve had an absolute blast playing with it. We have a huge backlog of episodes and tons of new ones booked, so we’re still full-steam ahead and excited, over a year in.
I tried new sports
For my bachelorette party, the rad girls of Collingwood took me downhilling. I’d been once before, but it was still a terrifying, exhilarating experience. I’ve climbed, ridden, SUPed, ran, and hiked in places I never thought I would this year. That, of course, was part of the whole Consummate Athlete Podcast—if we’re talking about trying new sports, we’d better be out there practicing what we preach!
We signed up for Ironman
…But I decided that traditional training wasn’t going to always work for me. So there have been plenty of big days on the road, but just as many big days on the mountain bike climbing actual mountains. Turns out, it’s a lot more fun to get the hours in doing things that truly make you happy, with people that you love.
The race itself is only a few weeks away, and I admit, I’m getting nervous. Because of everything else that’s happened—Shred Girls, a barrage of new writing clients and more travel than expected—I haven’t trained as much as I did the first time. I’m still excited about it, though!
I relaunched MollyHurford.com as TheOutdoorEdit.com
This was an exciting one, and it’s slowly been morphing as I keep evolving this site. I changed it to The Outdoor Edit a few months ago, with the intention of making the content more information-packed. I realized recently that the content that I post on here isn’t all that different from what I talk about over at SaddleSoreWomen.com: I still love talking about the awkward stuff that other people simply don’t like bringing up. Not saddle sores or cycling-specific stuff, necessarily, but the travel and outdoors stuff that people don’t like talking about, like how you manage to brush your teeth while traveling #vanlife style (and why you should never skip a bathroom break when one presents itself!) or why you’re getting chin acne from your helmet. It’s not the sexy picture-perfect Instagram life, and I love that. (I admit, I wanted to make it like that. But the stuff that I wanted to write, that felt natural, and that you guys seemed to enjoy just wasn’t those perfect moments, it’s the nitty-gritty everyday stuff and how to avoid dumb mistakes by learning from mine!)
We camped more
This one was near Ojai, California, when we had a couple days between houses. Raddest spot ever. But we also spent a week near Louisville, and as we went to and from CA, we did a lot of stealth van camping to avoid hotels. It’s been an interesting year from a travel perspective, since we’ve gotten to do some pretty serious tent camping, some moderate #vanlife stuff in parks and rest stops, and then some baller travel over in Europe and on the West Coast. We’ve been really lucky!
I wrote a lot about running…
Over at MapMyRun.com. And that included a few funnier articles and photoshoots, like this one talking about core strength for runners.
Turns out, I love writing about running, and I really, really love running. Especially on the road, it’s been the simplest way to stay in reasonable shape when time gets tight.
I found my niche at Bicycling
It’s been over three years since I started working with Bicycling, and I’ve loved it since Day 1. These past few months have been really interesting and challenging for me as I switched to the ‘weird news’ beat, and it’s been a creative blast. It’s been a fun magazine to call home, and the staff feels like family. (Family I don’t get to see often, but when I do, it’s always ridiculously fun.)
…And started writing more for other places
Like Nylon, Greatist and Outside. Whoa. If someone told my 18 year old self that I’d be writing for Nylon, Bicycling or Outside, I would have had a heart attack. It’s pretty crazy to realize that the goals I had for myself at that age have actually been realized. It’s been a TON of work (in case you were wondering), but it’s been 110 percent worth it.
We got married
I don’t want this to sound like it was on my bucket list or list of goals for before I turned 30. But it was a massive part of the last year for me! We had our wedding last August in upstate New York and it was an absolute blast. We went pretty casual—rented a big ski chalet and had the wedding outside of the three houses. My dad built the arch we got married under, my mom designed our centerpieces, my sister made the cupcakes and our friends came for a weekend of hiking, mountain biking and hanging out. I walked down the aisle to 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. Our best friends performed the ceremony. We had s’mores at a firepit at night, and a ridiculous crew of Canadians rocking out to Kanye at midnight. It was honestly the perfect day—and the next morning, we packed up the leftovers (catering by Chipotle!!) and brought them to a house in town where a ton of our friends were staying so we could eat chips and guac and watch the MTB Olympic race.
So, yeah. That was a big deal this year.
I saw a lot more of Europe
And settled in to being a lot more comfortable getting around the places that I had been previously, like Brussels in Belgium, Sittard in The Netherlands, and Girona in Spain. But with this crew, I also got to navigate Rome and Amsterdam and some places in between! For the second year, I traveled with Aspire Racing and got the insider view of racing over in Europe, and watched Ellen Noble race to a medal at Cyclocross Worlds. It was a big year for all of us.
We re-launched Saddle, Sore
When I first wrote Saddle, Sore in 2014, I thought I’d maybe sell 50 copies and be done with it. The old pink and black cover was a photo shot with my phone in an alley by our house at the time. The content was strong, though, and clearly important, because after three years, I was still getting asked to do talks and copies were still selling. But I knew I wasn’t as happy with it as I could be: I had gotten more great questions, I had improved my writing style, and there was a lot I wanted to change about the way the book was laid out. I wanted it to be a fun read, not just a manual. I know it’s largely about nether-regions, but I wanted people to be able to enjoy going through and learning.
So, I added a ton of interviews and did a massive rewrite: I’d say the new version maybe contains 15 percent old content, 85 percent totally rewritten and new info. And, of course, a new cover was in order as well!
We launched in November at the Trek Stores of Ontario, and had a blast with the wine-cheese-lady-talk nights. I’m still floored that this was only a few months ago, to be honest, but the new version has been doing really well ever since. The website also got a makeover, which was exciting for me!
We launched Shred Girls
Umm, this is probably the biggest thing in the last 10 years for me. Writing a fiction series for young girls has been a dream of mine since… forever. Seriously, some of the pieces in the first chapters of Lindsay’s Joy Ride come from a book I started when I was 20, which was copped from a book I started at 12. So, it’s been a long time coming. And I couldn’t be happier with how it’s been going since I launched the first book of the Shred Girls series, started adding Real Life Shred Girls to the Shred-Girls.com website, and started doing events around the books. I want to get more young girls on bikes, I wanted to write a book that I would have wanted to read at that age, and I want to grow women’s cycling in the long term. (There is some massive news coming out about this soon, BTW!)
This picture sums up how I feel about what I’ve accomplished: There’s a girl, who just raced her bike wicked hard, and she’s hanging out and reading my book by the tent, where all of the companies that really believe in what I’m doing (thanks, nuun, Clif Bar and NICA!) are represented. *Sniffle.*
That’s a question for another day… But stay tuned, because that’s exactly what I’m talking about tomorrow, now that I’m (gasp) 30. Here’s to another great year, and thanks to all who’ve been along for the ride so far!