Livermore Hills RR

July 24, 2006

by Denise

The warm’n brown hills of Livermore were the setting for my 35+ race group. The temps were hovering around 105 at our start time and when we finished it was 110 degrees, I was told. Living in Fresno, I am quite acclimated to the higher degrees, but even I, get a little crabby when it is over 106.

Our group was the last one of the day (later start time..yipee!) and our group was small (later start time, more heat). Since I never looked behind me, I didn’t know what was going on in the back. Girls were dropping off like flies. The last lap was pretty quiet, we were pooped and hot. Vultures were circling above us; evidently we were emitting the scent of death.

I got 2nd place on the finish. I couldn’t get my handlebars ahead of the other girl, as we crossed the finish line. I limped back to my car, loaded my bike and DROVE to take my podium shot. Yes, I was too dang tuckered out to walk or ride that distance.

Huge props go out to the volunteers.

Denise :-)

Albany Criterium Race Report

July 24, 2006

by Angela

The race course is a short 0.6 mile loop around a school complex. There is a slight incline then a nice downhill. I really like this course because it can be fast on the downhill. The race is formatted a bit different this year. The Cat 4 and Cat 5 races have mentors to assure safety. The mentors also gave us feedback and answered questions right after the race.

I was pretty fatiqued from Livermore Road Race but really wanted to do this race. The main goal for me in this race is to hang on to the group and finish it. I know I didn’t have the legs that day so I will just have to bear with it and get a good work out. My body was tired from lack of food the day before. Right after the Livermore Road Race, I had no appetite. It was hot all night in San Jose and I just couldn’t get a good night sleep. At one point I almost bailed out of this race and maybe just pull out when it got really bad.

I started warming up and drank a couple of electrolyte drinks. I did eat breakfast but had to force it down, I wasn’t hungry at all. I did take some gel which helped.

There was another Bella in the race and I believed we’ve met in Mt Hamilton but wasn’t sure. She was very nice and at the start, I bolted out leading the group then Kimberly told be to hang on to her wheel. I said okay. My spirit was up after that but then after several laps, lagged behind the pack. Several laps went by and the pack split a bit but I was able to chase back. The pack then were all together again. There were a couple of attacks from Metromints and at one point for some reason I was up front pushing the pace. I felt fatigued after that hard work then fell back. Still in the group and trying to move up on the corners, which was un-safe – later getting feedback from one of the mentors which was great! The suggestion was to move up in a straight away. Hydration is also important during the race, which was another stupid decision of mine not to have any drink during the 40 minute criterium. What the hell was I thinking this weekend?

The pace started to pick up and at the last 2 laps, I started to get gapped and fatigued legs just could not keep up with the pace. I saw the group head around the last corner to the finish as I rolled in to the finish.

I learned a lot from the mentors that day and I really enjoyed the race. This weekend was just full of bad decisions on my part. One good decision was to just go ahead and do the race and make the best out of it.

Overall, although the results weren’t as good as I want it to be the weekend was filled with eye-opening learning experiences from other racers, mentors and my coach. The fun part of racing is to get better through experiences in the races weekend after weekend. There is never a race where I don’t learn anything.

Livermore Road Race Report

July 24, 2006

by Angela

The Livermore course consist of mellow rolling hills. 6 miles loop and 6 times around. The temperature in this race was a scorching 115 degrees and in some area around the loop it was more. Hydration was key in this race. As my husband said, it is a race of attrition.

I read a bunch of race reports explaining the heat but little did I realize that it was more than I can handle. The race is definitely different from a pre-ride. I arrived to sign-in and get a quick warm-up around the course the opposite way. After my warm-up, I went back to the registration to visit the potty then get ready. I saw Monica and she was mentoring the junior race. She was all smiles and very nicely told me about wearing a helmet during warm-up. First of all it is not safe and I can be DQ’d if the officials see me. Duh! I felt a bit embarrassed and apologize because my brain was on my ass!

Cat 4 women was quite a big group. I think there were 40 of us. I scanned through the group and said hi to some I see around in the races. I certainly know who are the goats amongst the women who can really put a hurt in the course. Sigh! My goal was to stick with that group as far as I can and as long as I can.

Off we went…

The race started with tempo and just cruising along. The road was narrow and it is not easy to move up without sqeezing in or going in the dirt on the edge of the road. There were some that crossed the center line but a motorcade was there to warn them. It was tight and everyone wants to be in front of course, so did I. Every corner was a surge and high tempo on the inclines. The downhill was very tight because of the potholes on the right hand side in one section. It was pretty sketchy going through it. There were times where I was a bit squirly. I am getting use to my new bike and the Campi Compact and was very cautious not to drop my chain in the climb. Well, I need to break the habit of looking down to see which gears I am in. That did not help. There were times were I was just tired and hot that holding my line was a challenge but was able to adjust.

I was able to hang on with the lead group until the 4th lap. My husband was at the feed zone with water and I had a bottle each lap. There were also other people graciously helping me out with water as well which was very nice. During the 3rd lap, I started feeling very strange. My quads started to cramp and couldn’t power up standing on the short climbs so I had to settle sitting so I can hang in there. On the long stretches, the group started to go faster and faster on the corners. Right on the short climb before the stretch going back to the feed zone, I felt it! My quads was shot and I started to go back wards. I still see the group but there have approached to top of the climb. As we headed downhill, I tried to chase and get back until we get to another incline then pretty much game over. I was fatigued and hot. I started feeling very thirsty and could not wait to get back to the feed zone. I was gapped fast and will have to grind my teeth to finish.

Right before I approached the feed zone before lap 5, I was considering or planned how I am going to give up and just pack it up of the day. I really felt that I could not go any further and my quads just could not go any more! I don’t really know what happened but when I approached the feed zone to get my next bottle, I decided to just hang tough and finish this race. I saw everyone cheering for me and at the corners the marshalls were very kind to tell me to hang in there. That is pretty much what I did, tried to hang in there and finish. In the last lap, my quads felt better and I rolled to the finish. I was just glad to finish and was ready to drink more.

I learned several things in this race. First is electrolyte drinks is important. I decided to not to have any energy or electrolyte drink in this race which was a mistake. Why? The last 3 days race I did, my stomach was not happy on the third day. I wasn’t sure what the drinks will do in a hot day. Water I thought would be the best choice, then learned that it wasn’t good enough to sustain me. I also learned later that food is also important. It is common sense really…Also practice not looking down and get better in holding my line.

Thanks and appreciation to my husband who stood out there in the heat for hours to make sure I am hydrated.

July 18-23

July 23, 2006

International Cycling Classic, WI
Cedarburg Cycling Classic
21st, Barbara Harick, Women 3/4
Village of Howard Cycling Classic
23rd, Barbara Harick, Women 3/4
Heritage Square Classic Criterium
12th, Paula Bohte, Women 3/4
26th, Barbara Harack, Women 3/4
27th, Karla Kingsley, Women 3/4
Cudahy Criterium
5th, Karla Kingsley, Women 3/4
25th, Sarah Stratton, Women 3/4
Whitefish Bay Classic
17th, Karla Kingsley, Women 3/4
20th, Paula Bohte, Women 3/4
22nd, Barbara Harick, Women 3/4
11th, Karla Kingsley, Women 3/4
32nd, Paula Bohte, Women 3/4

Tour of Gastown, Canada (Women)
10th, Lieselot Decroix
25th, Jen Chapman
31st, Hiroko Shimada
32nd, Susan Kerlin

Tour de Delta, Canada (Women)
Hill Climb
8th, Hiroko Shimada
11th, Jane Ziegler
12th, Lieselot Decroix
32nd, Sarah Kerlin
33rd, Jen Chapman
5th, Lieselot Decroix
17th, Hiroko Shimada
24th, Jane Ziegler
29th, Sarah Kerlin
Road Race
12th, Lieselot Decroix
16th, Hiroko Shimada
17th, Jen Chapman
21st, Kele Murdin
22nd, Jane Ziegler
Omnium Overall
8th, Lieselot Decroix
16th, Hiroko Shimada
19th, Jane Ziegler
32nd, Sarah Kerlin
33rd, Jen Chapman

MTB National Photos Added

July 21, 2006

Sorry about the delay in getting these up.

But the Tour has been soooo distracting.

Pics of MTB Nationals in Sonoma have been added to the gallery here


July 21, 2006

Welcome to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. We arrived
Wednesday evening for the Norba National Mountain Bike Series at Ski
Sugar in Banner Elk, NC. We stayed with Chelly Richards. She is a
Velo Bella, too. She and her boyfriend Daryl were very nice and
extremely accomodating.Thanks again for everything.

Alicia finally got to meet Kiersten Inserni and her brother Kees
from Texas. They actually stayed up and waited for her to get there.
There were instant friends.

Here is the gameplan for the weekend – Alicia is racing, Morgan is
the bike mechanic for our Pro Team, Ethan is the official prodium boy
and I am here to help out with meals, in the feed zone and whatever
else is thrown at me.

Thursday Alicia registered for her race today. It was raining on and off most of the day. We found out we had to walk the course before
Alicia officially got her race number. So Alicia and I made our way
to the chair lift. It was a interesting and scary experience for
Alicia. She has never been on a lift, plus a few times on the way up
to the top it had stopped. And to add to this it poured while we were
about half way up the mountain. Once was got to the top we were very
happy (and wet). Now we had to find the cross country course. For
some reason, we ended up not really needing to go to the top of the
mountain. That is where the downhill course started (not the cross
country course). The cool thing is that we were able to see some
downhill racers practice. We finally found the course and walked down
the rest of the way. By this point we were hungry and ready to relax
the rest of the day. Alicia was FINALLY able to get her number,
except for the fact that NOW they had her in the wrong age group. She
was registered in my age group(30-39). OOPS !

Friday. Today was a fairly low key day ( AT FIRST). Alicia rode her
bike most of the day and got a lot of stickers and stuff from
different teams. Some of our friends raced today. Melanie and Judd,
both did pretty well. Now just to make things really interesting !
Alicia decides she wants to do downhill, so she and Morgan walk the
course and then they changed her registration to the downhill race.
The race starts at 9:00 am on Saturday and that does not include the
time it takes to get to the top. I am already nervous about Alicia
racing in general. This adds another element to the nervousness of
getting her there on time and it takes about 20 minutes or so just to
get the the resort from Chelly’s house. At the end of all this
planning I made the executive decision to have her race the cross
country race, anyway. I did not feel that Alicia was ready for the
downhill stuff yet.

Saturday. RACE DAY. Today started off pretty well. Alicia’s race did not start until 3:00 after the pro girls had raced. The pro girls all
gave their best effort in the cross country race. Finally, it was
time for Alicia to race. Unfortunately, there were no other girls in
her age group to race against. The beginning of the race Alicia did
awesome keeping up with the older kids. She had a really rough time
with the climbing portion of the race, but she made it to the top.
Then is was all downhill from there (Pardon the pun). She only had
one crash. The bike had some mechanical issues(NO FRONT BRAKES). She
finally got to the end and her chain popped off right at the finsh
line. I was very proud of her. It was a very difficult race. She even
got an interview at the end and a 6-pack (GATORADE of course)! Alicia
was awarded a new bike for winning FIRST PLACE in her race. It was a
great bike, but it would not work for the trails she likes to ride.
We were able to get store credit at the bike shop that donated it.
She picked out an awesome pink Giro helmet and a really cool Camelbak.

Sunday. Short Track Race today. Today was the short track for the pro girls. All of the girls gave it their best effort. Congrats to
Kristen on being able to finish the race and not be pulled.
The evening was alot of fun. We had a great dinner at Chelly’s house.

Monday – Trip home to unpack and get ready for the racing in Vermont. Stay tuned for the next race report. Good Times.

Wendy goes to Gastown

July 20, 2006

The VB-Kona road team is in BC for BC Superweek.

Wendy wanted to race, but dirt called. But the good little bella that she is, she wrote in a report with pics on the Canadian fun!

Story and pics here

Wendy goes to Gastown!

July 20, 2006

by Wendy Simms

The Velo Bella – Kona road girls were in my neck of the woods so I figured I HAD to go cheer them on for at least one race of BC Superweek. I was actually hoping to race with them to learn a thing or two, but two big mountain bike races on both weekends left me with the reality check that I can’t do everything. But….I am a strong spectator when it comes to crits so tour de Gastown was my destination Wednesday night – along with 30,000 other spectators.

Unfortunately the girls had some bad luck off the start with Jane and Sarah going down in the start chute when someone tipped onto them. I didn’t see it but I knew it was bad when I saw two pink and blue kits walking back to the pits with at least one mangled bike (poor Jane!). Jane was out but Sarah was being set up to get right back in. The pace was crazy fast with primes being announced every couple of laps. Some big names were racing and the VB-K girls were right in there with the big guns – a few of them taking turns off the front. I couldn’t tell who was who most of the time but the girls looked FAST. A few photos for you guys:

Cascade Classic

July 20, 2006

by Brent Chapman

Day 1: Kele and Hiroko make the papers!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HIROKO! Hiroko earns some QOM points!

Velo Bella-Kona riders decide to make some moves and shape the race in their direction. The plans today almost worked and Hiroko almost slipped out a top 4, but Jane and Leiselot did some good work to stay with the climbers who chased the break down with only 6k to go. Kele who was in the break had a mechanical with her nuetral supported bike and had to work hard to stay in the race after such a tough break. (Kele’s Kona bike finally made it to town for the next one!)

With excitement like this its ok to be missing the Tour de France.

Great job out to Ryan Hostetter, as this is her first big NRC stage race (as a cat3!)

Stage 1 Photos

Day 2:
Velo Bella in Cyclingnews

Stage 2 Photos

Day 3:
Cascade Day 3 was a TT in the morning and a crit at night.
Stage 3 Photos

On to the downtown crit.
Velo Bella-Kona gals knew it was all or nothing and Kele had Laura Vangilder of Lipton marked for the win and that guess was c.orrect! Temp was 93 degrees!

After a fast start pace put on by webcor riders, the attacks came, and Kele went hard with Vangilder, Cury of webcor,and Ruiter of Victory. Martina of McGuire managed to jump into the break later too.

The gap was immediate with Kele taking Prime after Prime after prime! Until 2 laps to go when Van Gilder heard the $500 prime being called out and she took off dropping the group of 5 in the break away. Kele saved it up and in the sprint took second place!

The rest of gals made it in the peloton. Ryan our Cat 3 racer suffered from an early gap by another rider that was formed and was pulled part way through the race but looked great! She is really feeling the race now after 4 events.

Cyclingnews Story

Stage 4 Photos

Day 4:
Well, not sure about the papers, but Kele, Amber Rais of Webcor, and Martina of Mcguire slipped away on Lap 3 of 4 to hold the field off for up to 2 minutes all the way to the finish.

On the last climb with about 5k to go, Kele was gapped but hung on to the end to finish 3rd only seconds off first won by Rais.

Great job Kele!

Jen C had to drop out on the second lap due to a pain in her leg that we were concerned could be a muscle tear or problem with a tendon.

The rest of the ladies pulled in together with the field sprint, Lieselot thinks this is her best sprint yet!

Cyclingnews Story

Stage 5 Photos

Back in the Saddle (to find out that I’d never really been in it)

July 18, 2006

By Chelly Richards

Dark Mountain, Wilkesboro NC, July 9, 2006

Grad school and I didn’t mix very well. I don’t regret getting my masters degree, but I sure was bitter all the way through. School gets in the way of the better things in life and that just seems wrong to me. The last race I did was my first crit about 2 years ago. It monsooned, I was dropped in the first lap, and then I crashed. Looking back, I see that I was about 10 lbs overweight, probably depressed, and definitely not riding enough.

Now, fast forward to the present. Two months ago, I did two very wonderful things – I graduated and I moved to the North Carolina mountains. The first time I rode up the hill to my house it took me 24 minutes. Last week, it took me 16! I decided it was time to pick up where I left off – racing mtb in the beginner class – and entered the next race just down the mountains from us on some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden in Wilkesboro, NC.

I got there early, suited up in my Velo Bella kit, and started my warm-up routine – which I made up as I went along. I was plenty warm and still spinning around the field when I noticed my race all lined up at the start. I rode up the line with about 1 minute to spare. I said hi to everyone and we were off.

The race started by circling around a grassy field before going up a steep hill and into the woods. Almost immediately off the line, I realized that I would need to pass the girls in front of me and that made me feel good. After I got around them, I was riding behind the two girls in front. I wasn’t hurting at all and so I felt even better. I decided to hold my position and pass them on the climbs in the woods – since climbing’s my new thing, you know.

We hit the steep climb into the woods and I make the rookiest mistake I have ever EVER seen (and I’ve been riding for 3 years now). I shift, look down to make sure, and I’m in my big ring! I shift down quick and drop my chain. Okay…I hop off quick to fix it and find that the chain is not only dropped it’s…twisted and tangled? The mess on my bike looked like only magic would have caused it. Had one of my competitors hexed me?

I didn’t know what to do. The race cost me $50 so I wasn’t about to pull out before I even made it to the trail.

The 40+ category passed me before I got help and they started 2 minutes after us. Darrell wasn’t anywhere in sight and my chain wasn’t budging. Finally, some other guys there to watch their girlfriends decided to help me (even though, it was technically not legal). They decided that they needed to take my right crankarm completely off my bike and one guy went to get his tools. Then Darrell ran up and wiggled it back and forth until the chain came free. Minutes went by and about 4 of us were covered in grease before I was off again.

I decided I had to at least catch one of my competitors. I caught three of them and it felt so good! The second one I caught on some double track right next to an aid station and the guy standing there got a picture of it. (Gotta get that one.) The third one I caught in a section of the course that was also used for the downhill race. For the first time in my life I felt like I could race. I could pass people and then jump away from them to make sure they didn’t try to pass me back. Before, racing for me had been about not getting lapped by the men’s race! I ended up in third place, ten minutes behind first and seven behind second. I think I could have been up there with them.

We’ll see! Next race is in two weeks!

« Previous PageNext Page »