Owasco Stage Race Report – NY Bellas

July 31, 2006

by Kate Stewart

Hi Bellas!

Here’s a little report of our “fun” weekend of racing in Auburn, NY at the Owasco Stage Race…A couple things to keep in mind: this was supposed to be a 3/4 race, and it was made up of a lot of 3s and several very experienced 4s. Then they combined the 1/2/3s with our race to make it “open women” – so it was a very, very tough field of 33 starters. Sue Atwood, Sue Kahler, Amy Kneale and I did our best to represent the pink and blue. From a language teacher’s perspective I found it neat that there were Quebecois and German speakers in our race, and I had a little fun shooting the breeze in another language with some very pleasant racers.

First two shots of some wet rats after the time trial…look at how we’re plastering our smiles on.

We found a third wet rat – this one is much more cheerful and made us
liven up a little.

Ok, so the 12 mile Time Trial….Sue A. may have been the only one
with a decent warm up, as she’s good at arriving on time. As you can
see, it rained on us. A lot. Downpour actually. At points it was
hard to see. The course is very hilly and nothing like our local
club tt which is flat. Amy had a great TT and was loads of time
ahead of the rest of us – how does she do that? She’s supposed to be
a hill climber??? I guess part of it was that it was a #[email protected]$%! hilly
course. Sue K and I ended up right next to each other in our times.
Sue A (we’re working on nick-names…) was not too far back.

Here’s a nice shot of Sue A looking thrilled to have the photographer
poking a camera in her face before the circuit race.
The Circuit race: kinda fun, though much hillier than most of us
would have liked. It was supposed to have been a crit, but the race
organizers hadn’t taken into account that the roads in town were
under construction…so this course was put in its place. I think we
did 4 laps on a 3.25 mile course, with each lap being counted for
sprinting time bonuses. The pace was very fast, which took a couple
Bellas by surprise. Amy and I did manage to stay in the pack and all
of us did stay up on the first corner where several women crashed on
the 90 degree turn on wet, slick tar. Amy I and both noted that we
fishtailed on the stuff. That corner afterward became almost
ridiculously slow. (which was fine by me) In the end, it was a pack
finish with my redeeming myself for the TT (and the road race to
come). Amy was in the next group, then Slick, then Sue A.

Here we are goofing around after the race, practicing sprinting.


SLK or Sue K or now known to us as Slick. Can you believe she’s 53?!
Nice to have such genes. She trains really hard though too.
.
Silky…Slinky…Amos? We’re working on those nick-names.

What some of us might decide to do instead of bike racing if we keep
getting dropped. Wonder if my electric mower will have enough power?


At the Road Race:
No, contrary to what some say, they’re not sexual innuendos!! It’s
supposed to be cute! Looks like an ostrich’s neck!!! (BTW, my bike
is featured in Bicycling magazine – even the color!)


Ok, the Road Nightmare, I mean, “Race”. Just 45 miles, but with 5
KOM climbs, with extra non-bonus hills for good measure. This race
was a major leg buster. First KOM was at 5 miles!

We all had different goals – many of us accomplished them, despite
the race being extremely challenging. One challenge was that the pace
car didn’t know the route and took a left at one important corner,
when we were supposed to go right. Since I had preridden the course
a week before, and I could see the arrow on the road (duh), I yelled
to the pack to TURN RIGHT, NOT LEFT! and found myself for a brief
while at the very front on the 2nd KOM as a result of the leaders’
following the pace car. That moment was, naturally, very short lived.

Sue A said she was going to stay with the pack to the first climb,
and she did that – but then had a solo, hard-working ride. She did
get lots of encouragement from the onlookers, complements on her
fluff (not sexual comments!) and jersey, lots of “oh, la, la”s and
“go Bella!”s which surely must have helped her mental state.

Sue K finished just behind the chase pack – she had clawed her way
back onto a group of 4 I had clawed onto after the second KOM, and
continued to ride strong (dropping me) and steady on the never ending
climbs the rest of the way with a Mission in Motion rider (less than
half her age!).

I was dropped three times, managed to pull myself back onto the chase
group twice, but my legs just couldn’t take the hills any longer and
watched SLK and Chelsea (MIM) ride away from me. Rode then 21 miles
alone, thinking ok, at least no one is between me and Sue K, I’ll
still finish just behind them, when less than 1K to go, three women
working together caught and passed me at the finish. Such a bummer.

And then there’s that damned Amy. She never got dropped from the
chase pack, rode all the hills strong, and finished with a known
impressive local hill climber (a vocal complainer and yammerer, but a
strong racer) and a group of about 6, not far back from the leaders.
I did want it recorded that I beat Amy on two of the five KOMs – that
was an accomplishment for me, even IF she wasn’t trying…Amy did the
rest of us Bellas proud. This will be a good race for her confidence
for the NY Empire State Games coming up at the end of this week. (If
she didn’t blow up her legs yesterday, but knowing Amy, what would
ruin most, just makes her stronger.)

In the final GC, Amy had 14th, I had 21st, Sue K had 22nd, and Sue A
had 27th out of 33 starters.

Today I want to find a masseur…

July 29-30

July 30, 2006

Diamond Valley Road Race
Northern California/Northern Nevada
Masters Road Race Championship
2nd, Monica Neilson, Women 45+

Minden Criterium
Northern California/Northern Nevada
Masters Criterium Championship
3rd, Monica Neilson, Women 45-49

Downieville Classic Cross-Country, CA
7th, Sarah Kerlin, Pro Women
9th, Ann Fitzsimmons, Pro Women
5th, Renee Ridgley, Sport Women 19-34
10th, Piper Ehlen, Sport Women 19-34
15th, Meredith Obendorfer, Sport Women 19-34

Downieville Classic Downhill, CA
7th, Kim Passafiume, Pro Women

24 Hours of 9 Mile, WI
1st, Karla Kingsley, 12 Hour Solo Women

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Minnesota Masters Track Championships
1st, Barb Harick, Women 30+, 500m TT
1st, Barb Harick, Women 30+, 2000m TT

Laramie Enduro, WY
4th, Cat Morrison, Pro/Expert Women

July 22-23

July 28, 2006

Livermore Hills Road Race, CA
19th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
2nd, Denise Ramirez, Women 4 35+

Watsonville Criterium, CA
7th, Luciana Vecchi, Women

Star Meadows Road Race
Montana State Road Race Championship
1st, Renee Coppock, Women 3
2nd, Zoe Smith, Women 3
7th, Tina Whitfield, Women 4

We met some chicks

July 27, 2006


while we were in Vancouver.

Check them ouoot. We hope to share more about this team soon!

Road Natz Report from our Silver Bella Goddess

July 26, 2006

by Monica

Day 1 – Time Trial, 21 km, Venue – Laurel Hill State Park

The course was relentless, either up or down. After 500m from the “way too steep starting ramp” there was a fast little descent quickly followed by the first of many climbs. Michael reminded me to try to think about the TT actually starting at that climb. During my warm up it was raining, thundering I think there was lightening but that might have been the flashes of “what the hell am I doing here?” going through my head. All I know is I entered the starting block totally wet, but focused, and ready to rock.


My exit down the ramp was not pretty, I wobbled & laughed but found my way into a groove. My 30 second gal was a strong time trialer from So Cal so when I passed her within the first few kms I knew I had something going. Soon I found myself passing two more and then saw teammate Liz. Its hard to pass a teammate and not say anything but at this point in time talking was an energy sucker that I couldn’t afford.

I managed to make my way to the turn around only to swear out loud as I nearly went down ( I really think I should practice this TT thing) I avoided the pavement and got rolling again. After suffering up “the wall” I convinced myself I was going to survive this thing and wiped the drool off my face. I headed back into the park, down this wickedly fast descent which scared the crap out of me in my aerobars (once again did someone say train for a TT? hmmm..) I found myself thinking “this is the last climb” over each of the last three climbs (sure sign you need to be done) yet when I saw that little house at the crest of the final hill I knew I made it.

As I rolled back to the staging area I saw Michael walking back from the clock. I gave him the “well, whass up?” look and he showed me two fingers. Well, not a bad start but how far out was I? A long ways, I got my ass kicked. Ruth Clemence of Simple Green clearly out powered the field that day.

Day 3- Race Two – Crit, 30km, Venue – Jennerstown Speedway

After a day’s rest and witnessing a kick ass crit raced by Michael the day before I was ready. The rainy weather had moved on giving us some heat and humidity. I made two stops prior to hitting the staging area, one was the women’s room which I couldn’t believe how sweaty I was when I saw my reflection in the mirror, the other was the concession stand where I bought an ice cold bottle of Aquafina water. Good move!

Only 11 of us on the line but what a fun crit we had! It was fast from the whistle. I made an initial, early attempt at a little break, mainly just to see who was willing to work but about a third of the way thru Tracy Huber jumped and everyone just let her go. I wanted someone else to chase it down, so I held back. I made a few attempts to bridge but found the whole group was going with, sat up & waited. I didn’t trust my sprint enough to have all of us together .

We did bring her back and then with about 12 laps to go Huber jumped again, no one responded. She dangled out there in front of us, 10-15 seconds or so for awhile. I once again tried to be patient to see who would chase, made a few mild attempts but didn’t want to blow my match. With 1.5 laps to go, Moria Gandy of Velo Sport (S. Cal) got a huge jump, I was on it. We were cruising and by the final turn Huber had only 3 seconds on us. I hesitated, letting Gandy lead me out a little further then jumped. Huber got me by like half a bike length on the line. Shoot! Should I have gone sooner? Should I have chased her down? All the variations ran through my head.

I found myself stuck in a parade as I drove back to Seven Springs. Somerset, the closest “town” was having SummerFest and it seems the parade was Friday night right on my route. After suffering through an annoying 30 min. of detours I exited the town behind the fire truck, post parade escort. I kept thinking, maybe I should hang my medals off the rental and plant my bike on top…sure this could be good for a PA. pot roast. Nah….I called Sabine & Michael to whine and drove home.

Day 6 – Road Race, 55km, Venue – Seven Springs

Today was my day. I really wanted this win. The course was a short 6 mi. loop that we did 6 laps of. It seems you either going up or down, not much room for recovery. This also was by far the hottest and most humid day. Liz & I had a good time warming up together. We tried to chase down someone to feed us but left the starting line with little confidence we had it covered.

The first two laps were pretty mellow. On lap three I dropped my chain going up one of the rollers. Dang! I couldn’t get it back on. I jumped off and put it back in place. By this time the Shimano support vehicle came up on me, the guy held my bike and shoved me off. I was trying to keep my heart rate in check and not panic as I chased to get back on. Liz being the true teammate that she is had gone to the front of the group to control the pace until I was back.

The pace changed on lap 4, Tracy Huber once again was the animator. She jumped, Clemence followed and I was on her wheel. I knew they were the two to watch but it was so cool when I heard Liz holler “get on that, that’s the move.” We took off with one other girl in tow.

We traded pulls for a bit but we had a hard time getting everyone to play. I tried to be patient and take in how everyone looked, how hard they were breathing etc. By the time we came around the start/finish line to start lap 5 I had a pretty good idea it was gonna come down to Tracy Huber and me. Not much really happened during lap 5, just sort of an assessment lap. When we took off up the first climb on lap 6 the pace picked up a notch, we dropped Clemence. Huber looked over at me and said “we gapped her off, we gotta go.” We took the lead and kept the pace high down this working decent without much help from the Priority Health girl. Huber hollered at her that she needed to help, she couldn’t just ride the train. It was great, I loved the way she worked her. Priority Health did get involved but it was clear she was just hanging on to us. I was still gapping them off on the descents so on the last lap on the second of the long descents (about 4 km from the finish) I decided to keep the pace up. I didn’t drill it but I was going to make them work to catch me. After this decent there was a 3-4 min climb. I stayed seated but pedaled hard and kept a little distance. I was afraid to really go for it as there were still a couple of climbs to the finish. When we hit the long & I think toughest, especially at this stage of the race, hill with 1km to go we were all together. Huber was sitting on my wheel. Damn, not what I wanted to happen. I tried to ditch her, I swerved left and right, slowed down but there she sat. I did not want to lead her out. As we hit the feedzone hill with about 500m to go, I took the pace up a little bit, then she jumped me…right as we crested the hill. I only had 150m to try and catch her and I couldn’t, she got me I was so bummed. I really wanted this win. I felt great, I knew I could do it but, it didn’t work out. Should I have really attacked when I had the gap at 4km to go? Should I have waited for them to get her in front of me? Who knows….. In the end it was a fun, tactical race and I gave it my best shot!

‘Til next time Monica

Special Thanks for BC Super Week and Kona

July 25, 2006

I just wanted to send a special thanks to the people of Delta, White Rock, Vancouver, and Tsawwassen BC.

This past season Jamie Davidson and the folks of BC SuperWeek invited the Velo Bella-Kona team to attend the BC SuperWeek events and we were glad to have gone. Gastown was amazing, huge crowds so loud it was hard to here. You got to get there early to get the good spots! *read Jen Chapmans race report!

The support and crowds were some of the best in racing we have seen. The people in these areas were super gracious by letting us stay in their homes and supporting the huge community events. The gals went on a massive community ride with families where it ended in a fun BBQ and music.

The team and I would highly recommend this series of races to anyone who is interested in some tough but fun road races as the purses are pretty nice and the folks are some of the nicest we have met! Canadian cycling is alive an well, and should be looked at by anyone serious about racing that doesn’t want to fly back East.

We also want to thank Kona bikes of Vancouver for the super BBQ, Matt hooked up a good one!

-Brent Chapman
Velo Bella – Kona Road Team

Cascade and Beyond to BC Superweek

July 25, 2006

By Jen Chapman


Wow, what an amazing ride these past 2 weeks have been. The ride started in Bend OR with the Cascade Classic Cycling Race. Normally I come into this race with the best fitness of the year but this year I had to settle for mediocre. With the removal of once criterium and the addition of another tough road race I knew this race would be a battle.
I was really disappointed with my individual result however realizing my fitness level right now I was happy to contribute to the team as a supporting rider. This allowed me to do some work early in the longer stages knowing my endurance would be a problem towards the end of each long road stage. The team really started to gel like I have not seen us do before and we actually ended up owning these races and controlling the outcome which was just incredible to be a part of. My teammate Kele Murdin was on fire at Cascade and I have personally never seen anyone ever race that hard or with so much heart and her performance during that week will inspire me for years to come.

Hook up the U-Haul to our van and we are heading to the border for BC Superweek. Getting across the border into Canada was quite the ordeal and we all had to go into the Immigration office for a closer inspection. After it was determined we were only a minor threat to Canada we were allowed entry and headed out for a nighttime crit in the town of White Rock. Now, we had just finished Cascade on Sunday and the White Rock crit was on Monday evening after traveling for 10 hours or so? Our legs were shot and with a long tough hill on the backside of the crit course we pretty much dropped like flies except for Lieselot and Kele who finished in the pack. I am having some trouble with my hamstring so I was pretty sore and grumpy but ended up doing a bit of work despite my attitude. A day off after White Rock and we head out to Vancouver BC for the Gas Town Crit. 30,000 spectators lined the downtown streets of Vancouver for this intense race. It was the most exciting race I have ever been a part of and the crowds were incredible. The start/finish stretch was cobble and slightly uphill and all out speed every single lap. The crowds were so loud through that section that it sounded like we were riding through a tunnel of sound, I felt like adrenalin was powering me through that section each lap. The field was pretty tough and I was hanging on and trying to keep a good position most of the time but mentally I had a hard time taking such fast corners on the cobbles that I kept working to close my own gaps. Having people cheer you after your last lap while you cool down was also such a neat experience. Canada has such respect for the sport of cycling and the athletes. It would be great to see more US riders travel up to Canada to race, especially the BC Superweek Series as there is such incredible support for the racers from the community.


Our final races in Canada were the 3 days of Tour de Delta. This included a 700 meter uphill TT which was started drag race style with two riders going at the same time right next to each other. Fun to watch but painful to participate. The next event was a fast and fun evening criterium and finally a circuit race. All of these events were tough and especially so on our tired bodies. Knowing these were the last of our Velo Bella-Kona team races I wanted to give it all I had.
On the circuit race I really felt like after crossing the finish line I had nothing at all left in the tank. I tried to help Lieselot get connected to the front break of 6 riders for most of the race. The one and only hill in the circuit left me falling off the pack every lap and fighting to get reconnected only to go back to the front and continue driving hard, well as hard as I could until the hill came up again. I didn’t know I had that much fight left in my legs.

Speedy

July 24, 2006

Sweet shot of Hiroko at Gastown crit

www.canadiancyclist.com

July 24, 2006

The foam finger fan club.

Foam fingers. You know the ones. The big foam hand with a single index finger raised in the #1 position. I don’t know what it is about them but I have always wanted to have one out there JUST for me. Bobbing in the air. #1, #1, #1, #1, #1. Well, this weekend at the Whistler Crankworx Canada Cup race I had an entire foam finger fan club!! It was the best! NINE purple and blue foam fingers bobbing up and down for Wendy Simms (written in glitter). It was my soopah foam finger fan club. Brought tears to my eyes (or maybe that was from the salty sweat stinging my eyes…). Either way, I have the best support crew ever.

All right enough bragging about my foam finger fan club. The race. Crankworx is a HUGE weeklong bike festival at Whistler that is mostly geared towards freeriding and downhill but this year they hosted us spandex clad XC geeks for a Canada Cup. Any race in Whistler is guaranteed to have some of the best singletrack around and this year was no different. It was the first race of the season where the terrain has justified pulling out my sweet Kona Queen Kikapu full suspension. Yeah! All of the top Canadians were still out west from Nationals and some of the US girls were up looking for UCI points so it was going to be a good race. The biggest factor was the heat. The temperature was 38C (100F for you US folks) and our race was at 1pm. Ouch. Time to double up the Cytomax.

The race started surprising mellow. Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles) took the early lead but noone seemed to be challenging her. I think everyone was worried about blowing up in the heat. Eventually Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain Business Objects) took over and put it into her Olympic-silver-medal-gear, so us mere mortals were left to fight for the scraps. I had a great start and went into the single track fourth behind Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects). There wasn’t a lot of passing on the course – a trade off for the great singletrack that I was willing to accept. There was a big line of girls on the first lap but only the Xterra World Champion Melanie McQuaid (Orbea) squeeked by me and I managed to pass Sydor so, even score. The heat and singletrack started to spread us out by the second lap, so when I lawn-darted into a tree with my head, only Kiara Bisaro (Team R.A.C.E.) got by. It was my experiment at going gloveless to stay cooler – uhm I guess it failed. I jumped back on the bike but was a bit frazzled. No stars so I kept going (thanks for saving my gray matter Giro – unfortunately my Pneumo took one for the team) . The heat was starting to have an effect so I had to ride a bit more conservatively. I was drinking lots and dumping water on myself every lap (thanks to Norm & Hugh under the coveted BIG umbrella) but it wasn’t enough. I started to fade. I saw Kelli Emmett (Ford) coming for me on the last lap and managed to pull it together enough to hold her off but it wasn’t pretty. I finished 5th and went straight for the sprinkler. A dehydrated smile for my foam finger fan club and then I hit the shade.

Thanks to my team Velo Bella – Kona and all of our sponsors SRAM, Giro, Cytomax, Zeal, Easton, Sidi, San Marco, Schwalbe, Hincapie, [email protected], Crank Brothers, Fox, Team Estrogen and Vanderkitten. Thanks to my foam finger fan club who braved the heat to cheer me on and keep me hydrated at their own expense: Norm, Alison, Jason, Catharine, Sharona, Heather, Mark, Rollin and Hugh . And thanks to my longtime sponsors Frontrunners and Helly Hansen – no thermal layers required this weekend…

Bellas Survive NorCal Heat Wave

July 24, 2006

Bellas raced in record high Northern California temperatures this weekend. Nobody melted. Tough cookies.

Denise, Angela, Sabine and Soni were out there racing in the sweltering heat. Monica was out there too, mentoring the juniors on how to race your bike in triple digit temperatures.

Read about it here and here and here and here.

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