Rolling in Fayetville

May 22, 2006

Jen Joynt and Hiroko packed in like sardines in route to airport after Gila …
ahh road trips the smell from the backseat…

Bellas just returned from the Joe Martin Stage race in Fayetteville Arkansas.
Kele, Jen C, and Hiroko represented the team a week after the Gila. In route to Arkansas the Fabulous Velo Bella-Kona team Eurovan took a poop in lovely town of Dallas. Money fixed it minus the Airconditioning and Jen C was back on the road.

Hiroko coming in with a stong finish!

Team Van and gear

Thanks to Arkansas local Velo Bella Addie and her fiance Dan the gals were well taken care of.
Addie got the opportunity to snap some pics.

Hiroko feeling good!

Jen Chapmans post will be going up in Race reports soon.

May 19-21

May 22, 2006

Kern County Women’s Stage Race, CA
Stage 1-BenaTime Trial
12th, Monica Neilson, 1/2/Pro
12th, Ryan Hostetter, Cat 3
19th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Cat 4
1st, Elizabeth Benishin, Masters 35+
7th, Erika Donald, Masters 35+
11th, Sabine Dukes, Masters 35+
12th, Linda Locke, Masters 35+
13th, Julie Starling, Masters 35+

Stage 2-Mt Adelaide Hillclimb
4th, Monica Neilson, 1/2/Pro
10th, Ryan Hostetter, Cat 3
18th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Cat 4
1st, Elizabeth Benishin, Masters 35+
4th, Erika Donald, Masters 35+
11th, Sabine Dukes, Masters 35+
12th, Linda Locke, Masters 35+
13th, Julie Starling, Masters 35+

Stage 3-Iron Mountain Road Race
10th, Monica Neilson, 1/2/Pro
1st, Ryan Hostetter, Cat 3
14th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Cat 4
2nd, Erika Donald, Masters 35+
5th, Eliabeth Benishin, Masters 35+
10th, Sabine Dukes, Masters 35+
11th, Linda Locke, Masters 35+
12th, Julie Starling, Masters 35+

Stage 4-Walker Basin Circuit Race
10th, Monica Neilson, 1/2/Pro
3rd, Ryan Hostetter, Cat 3
20th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Cat 4
2nd, Erika Donald, Masters 35+
5th, Elizabeth Benishin, Masters 35+
10th, Sabine Dukes, Masters 35+
11th, Linda Locke, Masters 35+

5th, Monica Neilson, Cat 1/2/Pro
1st, Elizabeth Benishin, Masters 35+
3rd, Erika Donald, Masters 35+
10th, Sabine Dukes, Masters 35+
11th, Linda Locke, Masters 35+
9th, Ryan Hostetter, Cat 3
15th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Cat 4

24 Hours of Conyers, GA
1st, Erin Duggan, Women Solo

Skyline Park Mountain Bike Race, Napa, CA
1st, Sarah Kerlin, Pro Women
1st, Yvette Crockell, Beginner Women 35+

Panoche Valley Road Race, CA
3rd, Luciana Vecchi, Women 3/4
6th, Sue Lovecchio, Women 3/4
4th, Jen Joynt, Women 1/2/3

Chile Challenge Downhill, NM
Kim Luks, 2nd Place, Sport Women

White Rose Circuit Race, PA
9th, Barb Grabowski, Women 1/2/3

Jen Chapman’s take on Joe Martin 64 mile stage on Friday

May 19, 2006

Jen rolls in after a long day on the side of the road.

I was in a group of 5 including 2 Colavita and trying to catch back on to
the leading group that Hiroko had strongly pushed to stay with on the climb. My little group was so determined to catch back on to the leading group and we tried for a long time until I heard that familiar hissing noise from the little hole in the tube and had to wish my friends a good race and wait on the side of the road for a wheel.

Nothing happens to quickly in Arkansas and that includes wheel changes. It’s pretty funny actually. I was on the side of the road with my front wheel in the air and waiting for an eternity for someone to stop when finally after the last group on the road came through I see a neutral wheel support (Ford) truck behind them. They stop and the driver gets out and walks back to me asking what I needed. I thought the front wheel in the air was a pretty clear message but I responded, “I need a spare front wheel”. He pulled out a monster wheel I think might have come from a cruiser and I try to fit it on my fork. It takes a while but I finally make it work. The best part is that he actually apologized for my flat tire and gives me a quick push to get me back on the road. I had to start laughing at the push after I had been sitting on the road for about 5 minutes.
I can’t really complain that much because the weather was beautiful and I had a chance to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, oh and and after I got started again I imagined I was off the front on a solo break. It was a peaceful ride back into Fayetteville and I could pick whatever line I wanted.

Arkansas is great and when I say nothing happens to fast out here that is a big compliment, unless it pertains to wheel changes. I enjoy the slower pace of life and it seems to make folks really friendly and willing to talk to you about pretty much anything.

Rolling in Fayetteville

May 19, 2006

Hiroko feeling good at Fayetteville! Brent’s report here

Jen Chapmans post will be going up in Race reports soon.

Cat’s Hill Report

May 17, 2006

by Lula

Ok Bellas, because I promissed my mentor, our own Brenna Bella, that I would write about my race experience at Cat’s Hill and because I do love to talk about it anyways…here we go.

Oh, before I start, I want to mention that, as you all know me better at this point, I do like to write my race reports so you all can feel experience as if you were there with me, and for that, I write exactly what I was feeling, and thinking, at the time of the race. That all said and explained, seat back, relax, and enjoy the Cat’s Hill experience of riding 4laps….hehehehe (lucky you this will be a short report; or maybe not :)

And, Brenna….So sorry!!!!!!!

A day before the race I talked to BBella to understand the secrets of Cat’sHill. And gals, she had lots to say. I had paper and pen on hands ready for all the advices she could give me. Let’s just say that after the talk, I started thinking “maybe I should just pay forBrenna’s ticket to come here and race with me, I mean, in front of me so I just need to follow her wheel…if I can, of course”.

From that day on, it seemed more than 1 day, I could only think about the position, the gears, the turns, and position, the gears, the turn….At race day, I was feeling confidente. Did my warm up, thinking like Brenna, and felt great.

Got the bike ready, so I was thinking…., and head to the start. I was focused,thinking what Brenna told me, and in the zone, “just like Brenna would” until…..I hear”LULA!!!!!! She is so focused!!! Can you lift your arms?” and I see my Bellas so happy jumping up and down that for the first time in 2 days I was relaxed…just enough to don’t bite my lips anymore and give a small smile. For that, thanks! I really needed it.

The refree was saying something and I did not give too much attention until I hear “if you do not have spare wheels at the specific area you will not be allowed to take someone else’s wheels”. I said: “10 laps, who need them??? If you do, you’re out….hehehehe”

We started the race and I started thinking: “think like Brenna, just likeBrenna….what is this? what is this noise? Don’t tell me it is a flat. Please God if it is a flat tell me is somebody else (sorry you all).” as this happened I jumped to the front and the 2 Los Gatos gals, Jen V. and Liza Penzel came in front of me and I knew I was in the right position.

We turned right, and “WHAT IS THIS noise?” and right again, and “what that heck is this?” and I shifted my gears just like Brenna said and up the hill and I said to myself:”this feel good, I can do this, I really can do this….focus, Lula, the top of the hill is not here, it is over there before the right turn, come on, harder….what is this noise?” …. we made another right turn and down the hill and “don’t lose position here just like Brenna said” and another right turn and ….

“What is this noise? – ok, just keep going…it is only 10 laps”. And the story repeated itself for 3 more laps when up the hill I started testing my front wheel to see if it was a flat and nothing… and after the downhill on the only long strech part I realized that “wait a minute, if my wheel is not properly locked I can die or kill someone….course, my fork at the bottom is cut…” you know, to make it easier to have thefront wheel out WHEN YOU WANT TO. Not now, not in this situation.

Then, a light!! “I can go back and say I had a mechanical problem and change the wheels….. the ones that are in my car!!! Beacause I AM NOT GOING TO NEED THEM!!!! Who will need them???” So ironic.

SO, with a lot of disapointment in my heart, and sad for all my team-mates andBellas around the Globe, including my most brilhant mentor, BBella, I stopped the race.:( :( :(

So I did what any other disappointed and frustrated Bella would do in a similar situation:- I changed into clean clothes,- I ate my sandwich,- I left my frustrations inside the car along with the bike, AND,- I joined my team-mates for lots of laughs and talk about our next adventure -Kern?Panoche? Mt.Hamilton?

Report from Spain

May 16, 2006

by Wendy

The airplane gorillas.
My flight to Europe was pretty uneventful. Or so I thought.

Apparently while I was munching nasty plane food and trying to find a comfortable spot to sleep two inches from some complete stranger, the airplane gorillas (as Alex likes to call them) were stomping up and down on my sweet Kula Lisa. I remained oblivious to this fact until the day after I arrived because not only did the gorillas stomp the crap out of my bike, they were obviously taking a coffee break when I transferred flights because my bike didn’t arrive when I did.

When I finally got the bike on Friday and put it together I started taking note of all the problems. The derailleur hanger had snapped off. The chain rings were horribly bent. My rotor was bent. One of my wheels was warped. Oh yeah and I later learned that the drop out on my frame was so bent the wheel couldn’t sit in it properly. I tried not to stress out.

Cody Peterson (3D racing), Sarah Tescher (3D racing) and my teammate Kristin Danielson took pity and pushed me to the venue so I could get some help. This was waaaaay beyond my mechanical expertise. Patrick from the Swiss Kona team and the SRAM boys (Jeremiah, Torbin and Marty) were super helpful, spending a long time on my bike to get it working again.

Casa de Campo
While they were working on my bike I was hanging out at the SRAM tent trying to stay out of the sun. As people returned from pre-riding, the common question was “have you seen the whores???”.

Hmmmm. Not really what I would have expected. But I finally got out there and saw it for myself. The race course snaked through Casa de Campo, a park that was apparently a hot spot for the Madrid ladies soliciting love. And they were pretty obvious. I only saw a few on the course but that was enough for me, because they were showing off what they seemed to consider their best assets.

And apparently this was how the venue looked after it had been “cleaned up”. I guess in previous years the hookers would be waiting super aggressive at the entrance to the race site and jump on the hoods of the team cars, or just open the doors and try to get in. This venue made Fontucky look like a church camp.

After the prostitutes, there really wasn’t much to talk about when it came to the course. It was hard pack, fast, smooth, twisty, with no roots, a few short steep climbs and one steep sketchy descent. It was fun to ride but it was going to be pretty tough to race. No start loop, not a lot of passing spots and crazy fast.

Start list
Oh yeah. And 114 girls were going to be starting!!

The biggest women’s world cup in a looooong time. I would like to think that huge start list is indicative of the growth of mountain biking but I am guessing it has more to do with the quest for Olympic spots in 2008. Either way it was pretty cool to be racing against 100+ of the top women in the world. I just would have rather had a better start position among those 100+.

My 71st ranking was going to be tough but I had to keep my trap shut because Kristin was 99, Sarah was 109 and poor old Cody was 182.

The Race
Race day was perfect at 10am. HOT at 1pm for the men. The call up started 20mins early because there were so many of us.

After the top 20 they gave up on names and just called numbers. I waited in the shade for my 71 to be called. The start was a bit delayed back on row 9 but once we got started it was all out war. 114 girls trying to make up spots in the 25m start stretch and beyond. And those euro girls are aggressive!! You had to fight for every single spot and hold onto it with all of your energy.

The course got really skinny at the top of the first climb and everyone was off their bikes trying to force their way through. It stayed like that for the first lap before things spread out a bit. But for the rest of the race, if you slacked off or slipped up, there was always someone there to blow by you.

But I had a solid race, picking people off whenever I could and holding onto most of my gains. I finished 35th but it felt like I had worked hard enough for top 10 so I was pretty happy with my race. And the best part was that I got some valuable UCI points to help my start position for Belgium.

We hightailed it out of Madrid pretty quickly after the race. It was dirty, noisy and full of traffic and construction.

We drove to Girona to stay at Kristin’s place – much nicer! Great food, wicked rides, funky character and beaches. We are here exploring for a few days before Kristin and Sarah head home and I go to Belgium to meet Norm.

While I am sporting a few more freckles from a day at the beach, I hear its raining in Spa…..

Thanks to all of our team sponsors Velo Bella, Kona, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe (the Fast Fred’s rocked!), Zeal Optics, Fox, San Marco, SIDI, Hincapie, Team estrogen, [email protected], Vanderkitten. Thanks to my sponsors Helly Hansen and Frontrunners. Thanks so much to the SRAM boys and the Swiss Kona wrench Patrick for saving my trashed bike and Valdic from Luna Chix for feeding us in the heat.

Photos by Rob Jones of

Cat’s Hill Race Report

May 16, 2006

by Sarah Kerlin

It’s been months since I wrote a race report, so to get started I stumbled over to Starbucks a few minutes ago. JoJo whips up lattes across the street from my place of work, but she isn’t back from her little vacation in Taiwan yet, so I had to get my fix without the giggles and gossip this morning.

Cat’s Hill was my “Welcome Back to Racing” event of the year, after a long long winter spent in hibernation. Jumping into the race scene with an event like Cat’s Hill is a wake up call akin to diving off the end of the Santa Cruz Pier for a 6am swim in March…. but I’ve been known to do that also, so what the hell! These are things that put the spice into life, or the Loca in a Bella as some might say.

On the start line I said hello to Jen Joynt, my only teammate for the day. I’m glad she made it out after a tough week at the Gila! Observing the sea of green and yellow all around us, we agreed to play it mellow, letting others set the tone while we conserved our energy. Off the gun I made it a point to get near the front, not wanting to get caught up in any mayhem that might bring an early end to my season debut. The first few laps went well, until I made the mistake of glancing at my watch…. only 11 minutes had passed! I tried in vain to comfort myself with the thought that I was already one-sixth of the way done. Ha! I gave myself over to another 50 minutes of agony and suffering, though my body and mind had grown unaccustomed to such abuse.

The Cat’s Hill course features a punchy one block climb of about 20 percent, and rough, deteriorating roadways around the rest of the circuit. While the broken pavement on the course is ugly, the real danger I think comes in mechanical malfunctions on the hill itself. Jen dropped her chain on the hill and that was the end of her day, unfortunately. At one point on the turn approaching the hill I found myself sandwiched between two riders and the three of us bumped handlebars as I was shifting into my small ring. The chain didn’t move and I frantically fumbled with my levers, already having missed my opportunity to make a smooth shift. Desperately I threw my chain onto my 27, and prepared myself for a grunt up the hill in my 53×27 from a near stand still. Luckily, a few pedal strokes up, my chain jumped onto the 39 with a very loud grind and crunch. Paul Sadoff and Matty Wabbit were right there on the sideline to witness my abuse of my machinery – not the sort of thing I wanted to do in front of my framebuilder and my mechanic! Ooops. Sorry you had to hear that, guys.

I got the gears turning and I was on my way, but the efforts were building up, as was the crusty salt and drool on my face. I know I’ve looked sharper in a race, and felt snappier too! It is mentally discouraging to feel that your feet are stalled two beats behind the dance steps, and that’s where I was on the hill all day long. Without my rocket boosters I went into survival mode, searching for the fastest line through each corner.

I had to move from inside to outside of the pack as we moved around the course to keep my momentum and savour every small moment of rest. I knew I was at risk every time there was an attack, so I remained attentive. Those laps where I let my concentration slip saw me creeping sloth-like over the top of the hill, scrapping around the backside of the course to regain a solid position before the next round of punishment. I was grateful for the many loud cheers from the large group of Bella fans atop Cat’s Hill, and I kept pushing for fear of disappointing my supporters if I slipped off the back for good. It is a big responsibility being the lone Bella representing on the course with at least a dozen Bellas and Fellas drinking, yelling, and snapping photos on the sidelines, so I dug deep and did my best!

Christine Thorburn soloed off the front with just a few laps to go, and a chase group soon separated themselved from the main pack, where I was content to wait for the final lap sprint. Christine stayed away, but the chase and the main pack came together for the sprint. I was lukewarm over the final rise, and did what I could to come up with 16th place. I’ll take that finish and be happy with it, remembering that just a year ago I DNF’d at this race, which marked the end of my season due to fatigue. Now I’m back a year later, in great health and a promising season just begun. The suffering feels oh-so satisfying this time!


Belt Race Report, Belt MT

May 15, 2006

by Tina

Belt Race Report… Arrggghhh.

I SO apologize for my slackness in getting this out for a fun race from last weekend.

After a windy and rainy team triathlon the week before, I had gone out on Wednesday to test my legs on the hills, as Belt would have some. Bad. Very bad. My legs felt like logs and I started panicking. Fellow Bella Renee’ told me to think like Marco Pantani when he was the Pirate and dance on the pedals. I decided I’d be the Pink Pirate. Arrggh.

I took the mountain bike out on Thursday and felt better. Much better, but still panicking. Gotta love newbies for panic.

Let me start by saying there is nothing like spending the night before a race 20 minutes away from the start at a friend’s parents ranch with cows lowing in the background and sleeping on a big ole feather bed. Oh my. Didn’t want to get up and face the pain.

Belt, MT. Population, like 600. You are in the middle of cattle, wheat, and wind country. They have a wind farm near there that they shut down from time to time because it’s blowing too much. Ya know the American anthem, those “amber waves of grain?” There’s a REASON the grain is waving.

I figured some carbo loading on Friday night with Jennell’s mom’s spaghetti would do the trick. A big breakfast Saturday morning was scary, but well worth it. And then there was the banana bread.

Our kicking tail Montana Bella Zoe had been receiving contraband banana bread from Coach Jeff’s wife every week… I was starting to see a trend, so I ordered up my own loaf. And ate most of it on the way down Friday. I wasn’t taking any chances (or maybe I was!)

Belt is an Omnium race with an uphill time trial in Centerville (population of only 25) in the morning and then a 40-mile road race in the afternoon. My friend Jennell was nervous (her first race ever), but flaired out with some very cute hair accessories and a flashy jersey. I was very proud.

The uphill time trial had a lovely headwind. I was trying to decide between lighter wheels and a 23 or slightly heavier wheels with an extra cog. Hmmm. Someone said lighter wheels definitely. I cursed him all the way up the hill in my 23. Grr. And I really didn’t feel the power of the banana bread nor did I feel like the Pink Pirate. Arrgh…

Bellas Zoe and Renee’ did – Renee’ scorched the competition with a 21-minute time and Zoe took second. I managed to not be last. My friend Jennell is starting to get frustrated.
We ate lunch, watched a cattle drive, and drove to the start in Belt. I had calmed down some at this point, talked some tactics with Renee’ and Zoe. Although, since my goal is still to hang on with the front group to the finish, I don’t know if tactics are where I should be just yet.

Eleven women rolled down the road into a lovely headwind. The pack started heading up the first hill, and I hung on for dear life. Kept thinking Billy Idol “Dancing with myself.” Arrrggghh… I was stoked. One girl went off the front about 50 to 100 yards in front of us working with a junior, and sat out there in the wind for a long time. They eventually sat up and realized we had just been sitting there for awhile. Zoe and Renee, as well as a rider for Great Divide cycling were absolutely AWESOME encouraging me when I was really feeling tanked, as well as helping me figure out what to do.

The wind was every which way and you name the pace line style and we did it. Pace lining at 14-15 mph is rough stuff. But the wind was absolutely brutal. At the turnaround, there was much rejoicing. Yayyy.

A tailwind for the next 15+ miles – woohoo!! Oh, but then we had to go back over that big hill.

I started taking to being as close to the front as possible on the start of the climb, hoping to still be with the group, albeit at the caboose, on the top (arrrgh). It worked on a lot of the rollers. We got to the big climb, which had a short pitch and then a longer grind. I made the short pitch, but then couldn’t hang on for the longer grind. It was only 8 miles to the finish, so I was pretty happy to have made it that far with the front group. Jane with Great Divide was with me and we worked together to the finish – never letting the other girls out of our sights. When it came to the sprint on a slight incline, I went to stand (remember, I love to sprint), and my legs literally gave out from under me. Ah, the price you pay for being a pirate!

There would be no standing, no sprinting and Jane took the well earned 6th spot. But I was there. That was worth more than any sprint. Each race I get stronger, feel more encouraged and am ready to take on the next one.

Overall, Renee’ came in 3rd, but 1st in the CAT3s, and Zoe came in 4th. The photo has the tippee top of Renee’s helmet as 1st and 2nd place for the women came down to a sprint.

And my friend Jennell? She lost the front group not far from the start and sat in the wind by herself on the way out, but her competitive drive kicked in (she said she got really mad) and she passed people on her way in – and didn’t finish last. So I’m really hoping that she’ll come back out and race. But really, that she’s still my friend.

Until next weekend and the Cow Pie Classique mountain bike race. Moo.

May 12-14

May 15, 2006

Cat’s Hill Classic Criterium, CA
16th, Sarah Kerlin, Women 1/2/3

Washington State Omnium State Race Championship
Time Trial
1st, Erika Krumpelman, Women 4

5th, Erika Krumpelman, Women 4

Road Race
3rd, Erika Krumpelman, Women 4

General Classification
1st, Erika Krumpelman, Women 4

Team General Classification
2nd, Velo Bella-Kona

Berkeley Hills Road Race, CA
4th, Jen Joynt, Women 1/2/3
17th, Erika Donald, Women 1/2/3
26th, Troy Watson, Women 1/2/3

Idyllwild Spring Challenge, CA
5th, Sami Fournier, Pro Women

24 Hours of Laguna Seca, CA
3rd, Alex Fabbro (4 Dutchies & a Duchess), 5-person co-ed

Joe Martin Stage Race, AK
Stage 1-Road Race (Women 1/2/Pro)
24th, Hiroko Shimada
47th, Kele Murdin
49th, Jane Ziegler
68th, Jen Chapman

Stage 2-Road Race
32nd, Jen Chapman
43rd, Hiroko Shimada
48th, Kele Murdin

Stage 3-Time Trial
24th, Hiroko Shimada
36th, Jen Chapman
46th, Kele Murdin

Stage 4-Criterium
22nd, Kele Murdin
42nd, Hiroko Shimada

Overall General Classification
23rd, Hiroko Shimada
26th, Kele Murdin

May 10

May 11, 2006

Prairie City Race Series #6, CA
2nd, Kim Passafiume, Expert/Pro Women
7th, Suzy Peters, Expert/Pro Women
1st, Renee Ridgley, Women Sport 34 and under

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