GIla Monsters and Wildflowers

May 10, 2006

Racing all over the place this weekend.
Gila, Wildflower, Fontucky, Sacramento, Minnesota, and Cool.

Be sure to read some of the hot of the presses race reports:

Wendy Simms Gets Shot at in Fontucky

Brent’s Gila reports here and here

Jen’s Gila report

Kele’s got stuff on Heela here and here

Tim got Fontanafotos

and Brent’s got Gilapics

and be sure to be enthralled with all of our results

Fontana NORBA

May 9, 2006

The Fontucky freak show
I heard a few jokes about the Fontana area before I left for the first NORBA of the year, but I didn’t think it could be all THAT bad. I come from Nanaimo, which gets a bad rap by everyone who drives through the strip malls to get to where they are going. They never stop to check out any of the great trails, parks and beaches in Nanaimo. So I was ready to keep an open mind about Fontana. Sure there was heavy smog, gridlock traffic at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, graffiti on the race course, and a condom wrapper marking where the Velo Bella-Kona tent should stand, but I was trying to look past all of that. But when I got SHOT AT by two freaks with a paintball gun during my race I lost all sympathy and figured they probably deserved the jokes.

The homestay:
Lucky for us, the Velo Bella-Kona team avoided the freak show and stayed with the Baty family in Redlands. Actually, we were so many we spilled over into the neighbors across the street and down the road. They were great hosts!
The racing:
The Velo Bella’s were well represented as we had girls racing the marathon, super D, cross country, kids race and short track.

MARATHON – I didn’t race this event but I can tell you that the girls got up super early to make their 7:30am start Friday. If that is a regular occurrence, you will likely never see me racing a marathon event. Shannon Holden and Erin Duggan were out there rrrrepresentin’ the Velo Bella-Kona team in the early morning dawn while the rest of us were having a hard time getting our butts out of bed. We caught the end of the race as Shannon pulled in 6th and Erin 8th, I will let them tell you their war stories from the 49mile course.

CROSS COUNTRY – The coolest thing about the XC race was that there were over 60 pro women! Unfortunately for me, the NORBA organizer’s roll out list went off last years series results (I only did one event) so I didn’t hear my name until mid way through this 60 person call-up. Not an ideal spot since there was a super steep, loose climb about 300m out. I had to pin it off the start and weave through three rows to get up into the top group for the climb. It was a good thing I didn’t stick around row 4 because there was a crash off the start that held up some of the other Velo Bella girls. I should have been happy with my effort but I was greedy and torched my legs trying to pass a few more girls when I should have just saved energy for the 99% of the course that was left. I got dropped and suffered up the rest of the climbs lap 1. I did have some great descents. The course was super dry and rutted with some serious man-eating braking bumps but it was really twisty and fun singletrack for the most part. I recovered some dignity and energy for lap 2 and hooked up with Sue Haywood (Trek-VW) and Kathy Sherwin (Ford). I made my move at the start of the last lap and thought I had dropped them both but Sue had more in the reserve tank than I had guessed and left me for 9th place.
After the XC race, MTB action was doing a weigh-off of the race bikes and my Kula Lisa came in second at 22.6lbs! Not too shabby considering I am a sasquatch on the start line of most races.

Alex Fabbro and Kathleen Bortolussi stepped up for the pink and blue as they came home with the 1-2 trophies in the expert XC race Sunday
Super D – We also had two podium finishes for the women’s super D. Erin Duggan had a 5th place in the Pro category and Alex Fabbro brought home the BIG trophy for her category.

KIDS RACE – Jen Tilley was asked to help out with the kid’s race along with a few other pros, I can’t remember their names… She was decked out in her full pink and blue kit to race the under 7 race that included our own Katya Baty in her Velo Bella-Kona jersey (Brent gave it to her when the road team stayed at her house for the Redlands race). She got the hole shot and absolutely annihilated the other girls on her BMX bike (including JT).

Barry Wicks was hoping he could take the under 12 race by making them do 12 laps but the officials bumped it down to 2 laps. Barry led the group into the hail bails and tried to get away but one guy caught him in the finish chute.

SHORT TRACKIf the time trail is the “race of truth” than I think the short track should be “the race of death”. There is something seriously wrong with the amount of suffering you inflict upon yourself for this twenty minute race. It never sounds like a long time but you know you are in trouble when you desperately check the clock to find you have been racing for 12mins. The only thing that saved me was that the course was amazing! It was a really fun loop that went UP the mountain cross course to link up with a steep loose downhill and twisty singletrack through the trees. I didn’t torch my legs off the start like Sat but I made a few moves to get up to the front pack. Unfortunately, I always seemed to be dangling off the back of that group. The worst spot to be in, yet I couldn’t seem to move up. Every time I got a good spot I would lose it on a bad corner or yo-yo off a bobble. I held on for a long time but came apart on the last lap and lost a few spots to end up 11th.
So that wrapped up the Fontucky NORBA, sure it was a little ghetto but I guess we can’t always race the ski hills of Whistler and Big Bear..

Thanks to our team manager/mechanics Alex Burgess, Jed Peters and Tim Burgess. Thanks to our wicked homestay families. And thanks to our team sponsors Velo Bella, Kona, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe, Zeal, Hincapie, Sidi, Giro, Crank Brothers, Fox, and my sponsors Helly Hansen and Frontrunners

May 6-7

May 8, 2006

Coolest Race Against Cancer, Cool, CA
3rd, Troy Watson, Solo 8-Hour Women

NORBA Nationals #1, Southridge CA
6th, Shannon Holden, Pro Women
8th, Erin Duggan, Pro Women

Super D:
5th, Erin Duggan, Pro Women
1st, Alex Fabbro, Women 40+

Cross Country:
9th, Wendy Simms, Pro Women
47th, Shannon Holden, Pro Women
48th, Kim Passafiume, Pro Women
53rd, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women
55th, Sami Fournier, Pro Women
7th, Ryan Hostetter, Expert Women 19-29
1st, Alex Fabbro, Expert Women 40-44
2nd, Kathleen Bortolussi, Expert Women 40-44

Short Track:
11th, Wendy Simms, Pro Women
32nd, Kim Passafiume, Pro Women
40th, Sami Fournier, Pro Women
49th, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women
7th, Kathleen Bortolussi, Expert Women

Lumber One Road Race, MN
2nd, Margot Herman, Women 1/2/3
7th, Laurel Sundberg, Women 1/2/3
4th, Paula Bohte, Women 4
12th, Jodi Billy, Women 4
16th, Lindsey Hillesheim, Women 4
17th, Mia Jenneman, Women 4

Golden State Criterium, CA
14th, Sarah Kerlin, Women 1/2/3
15th, Nicole Freedman, Women 1/2/3
16th Suzy Peters, Women 1/2/3
11th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 4

Wildflower Triathalon, CA
126th, Elizabeth Rein, Olympic Distance Women 35-39

EMC/Documentum Criterium, CA
19th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 3/4

Coolest Mtb Race Report

May 8, 2006

Cool, CA
May 6th
8-hour solo entry
3rd place

The promoter made a big deal about my bicycle since it was the only
cross bike entered of it’s kind. Most bicycles had 26-inch wheels,
front and rear suspension, at least 1.25 and as much as probably 1.75-
inch fat tires and straight bars with index shifting and frequently
disc brakes. The modern mountain bicycle is much like a motorcycle.
They also had a granny gear; even the single speeds were running a

My bicycle wheel had no suspension, a road bike setup with the seat higher than the bars. I had flared drop bars and 700c wheels. My easiest gear was a 39×32.

The race began le mans style with a ¼ mile run to our bikes. We made a 90-degree left turn on the cement and another turn on the dirt and the fun began with single track that wasn’t too bumpy. This continued through two climbs that were easily rideable and where I gained time. Then we descended and the final part of the descent, the best line was this really narrow outcropping of dirt that if you thought about it too much, there’d be no way you’d ride on it. But that’s now how you do a mountain bike race; it’s just let the bike take the best line. So we descend and at the bottom it’s a sharp right onto a bridge (over a steep water crossing) and up a rocky, technical climb that most people walked their bikes up. The only ones who could ride were those with full suspension and a granny gear.

After this part there were crazy long descents that were totally
bumpy, rutted, rocky, with rocks that had drop-offs of up to half a
foot. I did an amazing job of riding down all of it, pedaling, and
staying upright! There were descents with large pools of water that
were deeper than the bottom bracket. I just rode straight through
them and got wet but kept pedaling.

My first lap was about 1 hour 20 minutes mostly because I made some
wrong turns and was generally unfamiliar with the course and my

Second lap was 1:06 and the third and fourth laps were about 1:10.
After the fourth lap though, I was done. That was 4 hours 39 minutes
of just riding the course. It was 40 miles of riding total. I had
blisters on my hands, had a sore throat, and was feeling really beat
up and achy all over. Part of this may have been due to dehydration.

Despite kind of poor planning to order to ride the full 8-hours, I
was very happy with my ride. I think I did quite well with my

The venue was great, the promoter was totally nice, the sun was hot
but there was a cool breeze. The course was totally challenging
always throwing something at you! That’s why I could only take 4 ½
hours of it; but that’s still pretty good, I think!

Thanks for reading!

Tour of the Gila Day 3 – Teamwork for survival

May 6, 2006

Click here for more pictures!

Day 3 of the TDG is a 70+ mile race through the mountains over the Continental Divide with endless climbing and technical fast descending down the spine of the GILA!

The first sprint was 6 miles in on a uphill grade where the first rider to pop off was a lone Mcguire gal (who amazingly rode in alone the entire way!). A few miles later still on the first climb which seemed endless Hiroko came through the caravan trying her best but the legs just would not let her go harder. We cheered her on from the car and yelled at her (like team managers do) and tried to help her along. We had to leave her. A bit further up the road just before Pinos Altos Kele started coming back right as the pitch of the climb really where the peloton just put on the pressure to get over the top and start descending. We cheered Kele on the best we could. I knew that Kele is a very good descender and she would catch on after she made it over the climb.
Jen C too broke just before the top of climb as her back could not take the pressure. Then about 20 more got detached containing the rest of the Bella’s. There was still more climbing, but Jen C caught back on in the first descent and managed to get back with the Jane, Noel, and Jen J where they struggled to keep the pace up and get back to the group before the long descent into Mibres Valley where the field would slow down and the headwind would begin.

Jen J and Jane went to the front to do most of the work where other riders sat on their wheels.
After the mile climbing through feedzone 1 was the big descent and they rode well for a really long time.
After a while, I called over the radio to Kele:” Kele if you can hear me give me a squawk on the radio”.. Kele replied “squawk!” and I knew she was coming.
A few minutes later in the crazy 180 degree turns I looked in my mirror and saw Kele was barreling down the hill just killing it to catch on… and she did. Flying through the corners. I looked at my speedometer and I was doing 45 and she was passing the cars!
Once in the Valley the gap was announced to me as 3 minutes. Then a few minutes later the official told me it was 7 minutes! I could not believe it and figured it was wrong, so I didn’t tell the gals that number but told them to keep moving to chase on. Later after the gals were chasing in the valley for what seemed like 40 miles someone reported the Gap to the peleton was 22 minutes… The wind was taken out of their sails, they were really bummed out. A few corners later someone on the side of the road yells out its 2 minutes to the peloton! It seems they meant it was 2 minutes and 22 seconds! And fires were lit under a few rears, Kele , Jane, Jen C, Jen J, and Noel hammered off the front of the chase group and brought them back into the fold just a few miles before the turn off heading back up the climbs with about 15 miles to go. It was amazing, Kele really dug herself deep to help and so did Jen J while in the Valley, without the collaborative effort the Bellas would have not had any opportunity to finish with the lead.

Jane, Noel, and Jen C made it over the 2nd feedzone climb, while Kele and Jen J both came off. They had done their job and had done it well.

A few miles later Jen C could not take the pressure from the attack on the climb and broke off too.
It was just Jane and Noel left in the Peloton that were pushing through the terrible headwind on a super long descent.

Going into the last corner with about 1K there was an attack and the Bellas just missed it. Jane stayed with her group containing Gaby and pushed on to come in 20 seconds off the winner and Noel at 30 seconds finishing with Kathryn Curi.
Dotsie Bausch won the stage.
Jen C rolled in about 8 minutes later , then Jen J and Kele about 12 minutes off the win time. We hadn’t seen Hiroko since the first climb of the day 60 miles earlier. Amazingly she came in just 28 minutes behind. All alone and she managed to stay within a half hour. Hiroko was a trooper and inspired everyone never to give up!

The team dinner was well earned thanks to Janes parents for treating. Hiroko can sure put it away!

Velo Bella -Kona
Road Team Manager

May 3

May 4, 2006

Prairie City Race Series #5, CA
7th, Suzy Peters, Expert Women
1st, Renee Ridgley, Women Sport 34 and under
3rd, Bonnie Darrah, Sport Women 35+

Black Dog Time Trial, MN
5th, Paula Bohte, Open Women
2nd, Jodi Billy, Women Stock
3rd, Sarah Stratton, Women Stock

Tour of The Gila Day 1 and 2

May 4, 2006

This week at the Gila we have 6 riders attending from Velo Bella-Kona.
Jane Ziegler
Kele Murdin
Jen Chapman
Hiroko Shimada
Jen Joynt
Noel Weddle (Guest riding)

Someone once told me, “stage racing is a series of dramas. Each drama leads you closer to the finish, so you remember each drama is just a part of the whole picture and ride on”.

Yesterday was the 15 mile out and back over a mountain time trial. Proved to be much harder for Bellas this year.
The teams TT bikes were not here so we had to use clip ons and standard wheels.
Results were not what we expected but the TT was not a focal point for us all.

Today was the 60+ mile point to point through the desert 59 miles and hang a right.. right into the mountains.

This year the temp was nicer and the wind was lighter.

About 25 miles in the race there was a Massive pile up, 3 VBs got tangled in pretty bad. Jen Joynt and Hiroko were able to get back on and out in time to get in a chase back group. Jane on the other hand took the blunt of the fall and turned her bars, stem, shifters, brakes tweaked… So it took us a few minutes to get her back together again.

She had to go it solo as the peleton containing only 3 riders with 2 already struggling to get back in were WAY too far to send anyone back for. It was a super tough decision. Kele, Jen, and Noel did what they could to help encourage the slow down. And slow it did. After a few miles we could see Janes helmet coming over the crest behind us and I went back to check on her. “This race isn’t over yet” were the words from her mouth.

I drove back up to the caravan and planned on calling Kele back out when the got closer to the hills, but I looked in the mirror and I saw 2 Diet Cheerwine riders with Jane chasing hard. From there we knew she was ok and she could get some rest before the climb. Jane proved she was a tough cookie.

At the turn, yet another dramatic moment… Keles chain dropped while shifting and wrapped around the crankarm. For the life of Tony (mechanic) and I, we could not get it off.
Then to make matters worse, we could not get the backup bike off Noels car! So we broke the chain and pulled the one off the backup bike and put it on Keles…. poor thing it really sucked. She did manage to scrape some time together in the end, but rode super well and smart today.

When the gals headed up hill, Jane who was pooped from her endless time trial today popped off the group right at the last climb. She rode strong for as long as she could. Then Jen C and Jen J. But further up we came across Noel, who was climbing really well. But low and behold the rider we never caught up to (who was so afraid of altitude ), none other than Hiroko did excellent!

Unsure of results, but I will post them as soon as I get them. After such a terrible pile up and so much work the gals did pull together a pretty good result.

Well off to the shop, Tony and I have a lot of work to do for the gals bikes tonight….


May 4, 2006

by Lula

So, here we go…

But let me tell you one thing: the pre-race report is more fascinating that the actual race report… Just FYI..

Friday – The Travel

Monica and I agreed to meet around 3:30pm at the TT course for our pre-race ride. And, with that beautiful hot sun out, i couldn’t be happier…. We arrived at the race site and started organizing the TT bikes. Monica came along with her fast skinny wheels on her blue TT bike while I had to set up those strange nasa looking aero bars on my carbon- fiber bars…I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea…more on that later.

So, ready to go and there we went. As we rolled out talking to each other we made a 1st right turn and kept going and going and going and look, Monica is going faster….. and over the train track.. And, wait a minute… a train?!

I stopped thinking to myself: “will I need to stop for the train during the TT?? OR does Bob have a remote control to stop the train when a racer is approaching???” Anyhow, I had to keep on going, after the very long train passed, as Monica was way ahead of me.

I finally see Monica and I informed her of my thoughts but she was sure that we were on the right track and that she did remember seeing the train… OK, I said…

Later, way later, when we saw the 99hwy, Monica realized that we did take a wrong turn, but at this point the only option was to keep on going; and, for the 1st time in the course, or out-of-the-course, we would have a tail wind. Sweet! we were thinking… And we were so wrong; we started working together, and this is when it gets interesting.

I’m riding behind Monica thinking: “God she is good and steady; I hope I am not too sketchy when is my turn to pull”. Once back to the car, we decided to just roll to the finish line and beyond to see where we made the wrong turn and I made a compliment to Monica on how steady she is on the TT position and she said the same about me.

And then … i made the very appropriate comment: “Monica, I was afraid of having you behind me for too long as i could barely keep a straight line on these aero bars…. in fact, have you heard those stories of teammates who pre-ride a race and crash on each other?!” and we were laughing so hard….

And…as I was making an U turn and fell.

Hehehe…go ahead, laugh cuz we did. I mean, Monica did. Instead of giving me a hand, she just said: “look how cute her little bag”… I couldn’t stop laughing looking at her face saying what she just said…

But then I stood up and said: “Good! I got my crash out of the way and the system”

Later on the day, we went to the hotel where more strange things happened. But, long story short, we finally got our 2 beds, non-smoking room close to the elevator and Monica knew pretty much what was going on on the building. I will let her explain her power…

Saturday AM – The Crit

– We woke up, we changed, we ate, we got my car organized, and there we went.

We parked, we registered, we warmed-up, we raced (there was a crash right in front of me at the 2nd last right turn), we all panic, we sprinted, we finished the race and I was mad, very mad…. but I finished in 10th despite my madness.

Saturday PM – The TT

– We showered, we changed, we ate, we put our legs up, we got the cars organized, and there we went.

We parked, we signed in, we warmed-up ( under the cherry tree without a black horse – it was sort of a warm-up as I was keeping an eye on Kim as my start time was 3 minutes after her and I didn’t want to miss the start; she got of her bike way long before the TT time and I panic and did the same).

We raced (I tried, seriously…. I kept thinking that Monica was right behind me trying to catch me up and I had to paddle really fast and hard and then the unthinkable happened, my aero bars came to my nose….and there was my focus all gone….

And the gal behind me passed me, and then another one, and I said: Stop in the name of love; I will not go down this way…so I started going harder and harder approaching both of them until crossing the line), we finished the race closer to each other and I was mad, very mad…. Later I learned that I finished in 12th despite all my accumulated madness.

Sunday – The RR

– We woke up, we changed, we ate (quite a lot: 2 pancakes, 2 white eggs scrambled, 2 wheat toasts, coffee and orange juice) we got the cars organized, and there we went.

We parked, we didn’t need to sign in, we warmed-up, we raced, we rode thru the washing machine, we (I) sang “shake you booties” during the race, one gal was SO above the normal out of line and very dangerous that we all avoided staying behind or even closer to her, we all watched metromint go over the center line over and over again, and we had a small crash that I never saw.

I stayed with the lead pack ( for the 1st time ion a RR with cat1/2s), and I was even more mad, extremely mad…. But later I learned that I finished in 5th despite all my more than accumulated madness.

— I wasn’t really mad…I just liked the pattern…did you notice it?! How cool..

Anyhow, after coming back to the car, and changing, and eating, and waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for the results, which were so wrong I learned that I was in 9th on the GC right behind Kim and in front of Flavia, who despite winning the Crit and placing 4rd in the RR could not make up any time on me as my TT bike was terrible but about 1 minute faster than her….hehehe

Lessons learned:
1. Sunblock DO HAVE expiration date…
2. Monica is very aware of the surroundings…
3. TT bars are to be tested way long before the race day…
4. If #3 is not possible, then the TT bars position need to be marked on your bike so you can put them on the correct place…
5. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use a sunblock that had been expired…the results can be disastrous…
6. I will travel with Monica as a roam-mate any time…especially if she provides the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with the great laughs…

Pre-Race Report – Madera

May 4, 2006

By Lula

I will send my report later today, when……

my forearms feel better from the sunburn,…

my shoulders relax from the “shake your booties” part of the race,…

my neck and back relax from the TT position that was so wrong that I was feeling like I was going up to the sky instead of forward on the road (my bars came up to mynose,literally),…

my buttocks relax from the small but hard fall I took when pre-riding the TTcourse along with my lovely team-mate called Monica, who first words after my fall were: “howcute your little bag”….- you don’t wanna miss that –

All in all, I was happy with my racing, TT a part and a crash at the Crit right in front of me. On the GC I finished 9th and I was happy that I stayed with the lead pack all the way to the finish at the RR, finishing in 5th. And the weather…. Let me tell you this, I liked it! Gorgeous and hot!!!!! just the way I likeit.. Can you see my happy face?!?!?!

Julie’s First Report- Madera

May 4, 2006

by Julie

I have raced twice as a Bella but have kept a low profile. This was my first opportunity to get to know the girls and I must say, I was very impressed. Everyone was so encouraging and helpful. I felt very “included” and it was a fantastic experience.

On to the race: I drove down with Kim Heiser who is a wealth of knowledge. I listened and watched very carefully for every trick, skill, training plan, routine, or nugget of information I could ascertain. I hit the jackpot!

I have only done three Crits in my short cycling life but this one will go down in my memory. It was a large combined group of 39 women. I stayed with the group, kept my eyes open for an opportunity and took it on the last turn for the finish line. I turned on the inside and sprinted for the finish. It worked and I got 2nd place. After my heart attack was over I got myself together for the next round.

The TT course was a loop with a nasty head wind on the second turn. I left my HR monitor at home (what else is new) so I had to wing it. I took it easy for the first 5 minutes then picked it up. I felt steady but that head wind was a motivation buster. I used my “firmly mounted” time trial bars and did not come out of the position once. That was a goal for me.

The Road Race for Cat 4 started at 11:40. By that time, I wanted to be sipping Margi’s with my feet up but, there was a three way tie for first place going into the RR. Two Bellas and a CVC gal.

Heidi and I talked about a plan but she had to pee within the first 15 minutes. She stopped (and humored the guy on the motor cycle so much he passed by two or three times) and those lead girls took the opportunity to hammer it on the rough stuff. That was tough.

After the breakaway it was down to just Soni and me. We held strong to the finish but I was fading fast. It is amazing how 20 feet can be the difference between 2nd and 7th. This was the first time I was ever with the lead group at the finish line. I learned a lot. I ended up 3rd in the GC.

The experience of being part of the team and camaraderie among everyone was the best part of the weekend. It was such a positive experience. Thank you all for providing me such a wonderful opportunity.

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