August 9-11

August 9, 2006

Masters National Track Championships, CO
5th, Kele Murdin, Women 30-34
3rd, Catherine Boland, Women 45-49
4th, Barbara Harick, Women 45-49
4th, Robyn Jensen, Women 50-54

12th, Catherine Boland, Women 40-99
16th, Robyn Jensen, Women 40-99

2 k
1st, Kele Murdin, Women 30-34
3rd, Robyn Jensen, Women 50-54

7th, Catherine Boland, Women 40-49
8th, Barbara Harick, Women 40-49
2nd, Catherine Boland, Women 45-49
3rd, Barbara Harick, Women 45-49

NORBA National Finals, CO
14th, Kristen Danielson, Pro Women STX
31st, Rebecca Gross, Pro Women STX
13th, Kristen Danielson, Pro Women XC
45th, Shannon Holden, Pro Women XC
47th, Rebecca Gross, Pro Women XC
2nd, Alex Fabbro, Super D Women 40+
7th, Suzanne Peters, Super D Mechanics Race
8th, Jed Peters, Super D Mechanics Race
12th, Kathleen Bortolussi, Open Women STX
3rd, Erika Krumpelman, Expert Women 35+
5th, Kathleen Bortolussi, Expert Women 40+

Montezuma’s Revenge, CO
1st, Cat Morrison, Women

August 5-6

August 8, 2006

Fort Ord Road Race, CA
12th, Brei Gudsell, Women 1/2/3 Road Race Championship

Timpani Criterium, CA
7th, Luciana Vecchi, Women 3
13th, Sabine Dukes, Women 3
9th, Kimberley White, Women 4
14th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
28th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 4
21st, Brei Gudsell, Women 1/2/3

Marcus Daly Criterium, MT
State Championship
1st, Zoe Smith, Women 3/4
3rd, Tina Whitfield, Women 3/4

NORBA Nationals #6, UT
15th, Kristen Danielson, Pro Women STX
32nd, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women STX
20th, Kristen Danielson, Pro Women XC
22nd, Noel Weddle, Pro Women XC
38th, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women XC
1st, Alex Fabbro, Super D Women 40+
5th, Judi Mumm, Super D Women 40+
2nd, Kathleen Bortolussi, Expert Women 40+

Bellas do Downieville

August 7, 2006

A couple of weekends ago, several fearless Bellas tackled the endless climbs and killer descents of California gold country’s most infamous race, the Downieville Classic. Click here to read about the pain, suffering and fun times.

Good times in Downieville…and a broken helmet

August 7, 2006

by Kim Heiser

I’m contemplating a full race report but the short and dirty is that on Saturday during the Downhill portion of the All-Mountain competition I had the hardest fall I’ve ever had to date. I was probably doing about 30 + MPH on 3rd divide when my hand came off the bar, lost control of the bike, and fell head first into the dirt followed by a full left sided skip and slide. Thank God for helmets is all I can say.

Mine is a dead soldier. I rung my bell pretty hard, gathered myself up and slowly finished the rest of the downhill race. Then I went straight to First Aid and the Clinic where I told them I’d prefer to not have the stitches they wanted to give me on my hip. So I’m pretty banged up and scraped up from shoulder to hip where I too have a “goiter” now. I
instantly thought of Sabine and Julie. Hah hah. So I skipped the XC since my helmet was broken, my bars have a crack and a bolt is missing out of my stem and oh yeah the fact that I could barely roll out of my tent Sunday morning. At least nothing is broken.


Heal fast Kim! We’re sending you Bella beams…

Downieville Race Report

August 7, 2006

by Piper Ehlen

This was my first race at Downieville.

Last year when I read the Downieville XC race reports, I thought to myself “28 miles, 4,400 feet of climbing, and 5,700 feet of downhill? sounds gruelling! can’t wait to do it next year!”

And yes, it was gruelling. This was the longest race I’ve ever done. Maybe even the most technical (well, I guess Skyline might have it beat in the crashes department). And I can’t wait to do it again next year.

OK first of all the start was crazy – they sent all the sport men, sport women, clydesdales, singlespeeds and tandems all at the same time – there must have been 250 bikers trying to get off that start line! I finally got moving about 3 minutes after I heard them say “GO!”

I’d ridden the course once before (climb and all) so I kinda knew what to expect. I’m a much better climber than I am at descending, so my plan was to pass as many people on the (absurdly long and intense) climb and hope to keep some speed in the descent. It may have been a good plan if I had known that the fire-road climb was going to turn into a single-file line of bikers as far as the eye could see. I passed every now again, but passing on the loose rocks outside the single-file line took so much energy! I did pass one guy after he farmer-blowed and it landed
on me. Um, time to get around you, snotty. I passed about 30 people overall on the climb. And then they all passed my on the descent. As is always my racing technique (or lack thereof). Someone teach me how to descend faster, please!!

At the top, I was happy to see Miss Mary and some other Bellas and TWW’ers – thanks for the encouragement! About a minute into the descent, my handlebars started moving, up and down. Uh oh. It was then that I remembered that I had failed to tighten them after unpacking my bike from my trip to Colorado the day before. Buzzkill. There’s no way I could do that downhill with wobbly handlebars. So I pulled over and asked everyone who passed if they had allen keys I could borrow. My knight-in-shining-allen-keys finally stopped and I did a quick fix-it, and back on my bike.

I have a love-and-hate relationship with the downhill of this race. It’s challenging to me, to say the least. I love when I can breeze over technical parts that are intimidating. I hate when I freak out, hit the breaks, and have to walk over sections that I know I could probably ride. I was actually very proud of myself for the difficult spots that I rode over without a second thought. Sometimes it was simply because someone was right behind me and I didn’t want to slow them down.

I finished the race in 3 hours, 31 minutes. Just about what I thought it would take me. I finished 10th in Senior Sport Women (out of 16). After some beer and pasta, I hitchhike back to the campground and head back to SF.

This was an awesome weekend and a great race. Thanks to all the Bella and TWW support and encouragement!!!


My Downieville Race Report: You know you’re slow when…

August 7, 2006

1. the motorcycle sweeper rides up to you and asks if there’s anyone left riding behind you.

2. you pull into the finish and someone asks you “Mo, what happened?!”

needless to say, riding for an hour or two twice a week for the last six months hasn’t exactly helped me make gains on last year’s DVille time. needless to say adding a whopping 45 mintues to last year’s finish time has just a certain way of making you all warm and fuzzy inside. not. (which, by the way, they managed to add an ADDITIONAL full half hour to in the final posted results– I came in at 4:15, not 4:50. hey, I’m not THAT slow!!). Let’s just say the Sierra Buttes are beautiful when you’re going slow enough to actually look around.

I did however, have a great time and repeated my no-flats, no-crashes success, and pulled in front of the last girl in my category on the downhill, finishing 30 minutes in front of her. So here’s to small victories, working 10 hour days, commuting an hour each way by train every day, and finishing my damn business degree by December. didn’t we talk about life-bike balance on this list a couple weeks ago? LOL. guess life is winning over bike right now.

But here’s also to being happy, sore (gotta love a quad-paralyzing minute long ordeal in the middle of 3rd divide), tucking my ego away in the name of riding an amazing course like Downieville, drinking good beer and being surrounding by a bunch of awesome friends.

’till next year.


What I did on my summer vacation / the SERC series 2006

August 2, 2006

(Or I should say:) “What I Learned on my Summer Vacation”
by Molly Graves, VB-K Tennessee

Well, it’s finally over —
the long weekend car trips,
the forgotten, fermenting water bottles full of two-day-old Cytomax,
the chamios-pads-turned-to-sandpaper from mudfest races —

Yes, the South Eastern Regional Championship (SERC) mtb race series ended this past weekend in Anniston, Alabama — and this is my final report.

A general disclaimer: This season was my first season racing Expert. I moved up not because I was slaughtering all the Sport riders in the Southeast, but as a challenge to myself and basically to see if this is something I want to do on this level. It was hard. What else can I say? When you finish races so far back from the lead pack that all the other girls are clean and dry and dressed up sipping cocktails as they cheer you on over the finish line (This is when the words “Good job!” can be the worst thing to hear!) — well, you can feel pretty damn stupid sometimes. But whatever. I’m over that part. Here are a few of the things I learned:

SERC #1 — Reddick, FL (March 12th): First of all, not all of Florida is flat. At least not mountain bike trails built in and around old mine quarries — no, they are full of wrist-slamming, teeth-chattering drops and climbs just as steep. I learned very quickly to scoot even further back and off the saddle than ever before. And don’t even think about hitting the brakes. Both Lynne Barkeloo (my only other TN Bella Expert partner-in-crime for the season — who was riding her first Expert race pregnant at the time though she did not know it!) and I learned a great deal about setting a pace we can handle for three laps, and HYDRATING WELL! A large number of the guys who took off like rockets on their first lap had to drop out for dehydration — I had never experienced such extreme conditions in March.

SERC #2 — Columbia, TN (March 26th): Sami Fournier of the Bella pro team joined us at this race, and we were delighted to have her racing with us on one of our local trails! Unfortunately, Sami came late and didn’t get to preride, so I think the race got tricky for her later on. Still, it was a great feeling to line up at the start with three Bellas in the pro/expert class (Lynne was still riding pregnant — still with no clue!), and to watch Sami take off and blow everybody away at the start! What a great feeling to have a team! :) I felt like I raced well in this race — I caught a couple of girls on the last lap and set a pace I could keep. It was also my only “podium” finish — that is, if you call 8th place, standing on the grass beside the-person-beside-the-podium a “podium” finish! Still, I was happy to be standing up there next to Sami. :)

SERC #3 — Bryson City, NC — Tsali (April 9th): My lesson here was one I should have learned from Sami at Columbia: NEVER SKIP THE PRERIDE! At least, if you’ve never ridden the course before and you are nervous and want to know where the cliffs are, like me. Peter and I got to NC late and it was raining hard. I wanted to go check the trails out anyway, but he convinced me I didn’t need to. I wanted to scream at him the next day when the entire pack of riders pulled away from me in the first 5 minutes, but when I found him later on he was just mad because he had only gotten 2nd place in his division. Grrrr… (No, not bitter at all… !!) This race was terrible for me. I had no confidence, and couldn’t trust myself to get any speed up. I spent almost the entire race by myself, until the girl who had gotten lost earlier caught up to me and passed me. Additionally, Lynne had finally realized she was pregnant and so I lost my training partner for the season. I will never skip the preride again, if I can help it…!

SERC #4 — Clemson, SC (April 30th): Almost didn’t go to this one. Peter has turned into a roadie this season, so I ended up having to drive by myself to most of the races after Tsali. Expensive, and not so much fun. My lesson in Clemson was to respect all hills, no matter how seemingly innocent. The Clemson course didn’t seem that bad after a quick preride — in fact, I kind of made fun of the “big climb” at the end. Bad move. Very bad move. After three laps, the hills fought for revenge. And I gained a new respect for them. Kathleen of the GA Bellas came out to race with me on this course, which was fun. Good to have some Bella company in my class again.

SERC #5 — Jackson, GA (May 7th): AKA “The Mudfest” ! Yes, this is where my brand new Bella shorts quickly turned to sandpaper. I have washed them over 20 times, but they will never be the same. This is the muddiest race i have ever done. It quickly became a struggle to finish. Several of the girls I was racing against dropped out because of brakes that wouldn’t function, etc. I somehow made it through, though it took me close to 4 hours to do three laps. My mud skills improved a great deal, though, and I can’t say that this is training I would have done by choice. Exhausting race — and then the long drive home alone, highly caffinated…!

SERC # 6 — Fontana, NC (May 27th): Patti and I decided that people must race Fontana just to be able to say they’ve done it — you know, to be able to throw out the mtb-er comment, “Woooah! But this trail is nothin’ like Fontana! Heh!” and have everybody nod knowingly… There was nothing fun about this course for me. More mud (though I could now say, “this is nothing like the Jackson mudfest!” !!), and climbs climbs climbs. I guess my lesson here would be (as Cathy of the Ga Bellas would say:) Don’t forget the hill repeats. Yowzers. I have a lot to learn as a climber. A fellow expert racer and I turned this race into a training race after the first lap, and by lap three we were just happy to finish. Another exhausting race. Wait, isn’t this supposed to be fun??!

SERC #7 — Macon, GA (June 25th): My only drop race. I skipped this one. I was sick, I was exhausted, I was seriously wondering why this series had seemed like such a good idea…!

SERC #8 — Ducktown, TN (July 16th): Okay, finally my first race on my new Kona Kula Primo that I finally got pimped out and ready to ride. The only problem is that my body was feeling somewaht less than Primo — I think the extra lap and all the traveling was starting to wear me down in a serious way. Still, Ducktown was a Tennessee race and an easy drive, and on top of that Peter was actually going to race, too, so I had company. I tried. I just didn’t have any energy. I felt it from the very start. I was climbing things in my middle ring that I did in the granny last year, but I just felt… beat. My times were actually worse than last year, and they felt it. This is when I started to realize that I was just done. I needed a break, but there was one
more race in the series…

SERC #9 — Anniston, AL (July 30th): Thank God! The end! Peter kept telling me I didn’t have to do this race, but I knew I had to — I really needed to just finish it and have the satisfaction of having weathered the series. I was talking to a pro rider before the race, and I told her that I felt stupid using the term “overtraining” when I didn’t feel like I had really trained THAT hard — and her commemt was that overtraining wasn’t so much about how much you trained, as it was about the difference in what you did this year compared to last year. And that really made sense — last year was nothing compared to this year, which gives me hope that next year will be much easier in that respect. As for Anniston, no real moments of glory. I finished. And ditto for the series. My one real time on the podium was for the overall series awards — I got second in the women’s Expert/Pro overall for 2006. It is kind of silly, knowing how much some of those women kicked my butt — but I guess it goes to show you that sometimes just showing up has its own reward.

All of these race results and some photos can be found at

The End. And if you actually read all of this you are very patient. Thanks!
— Molly G

What did you do this weekend?

August 2, 2006

Karla won the 24 Hours of 9 Mile in Wisconsin

Monica broke her silver streak

Rene, Zoe, and Tina drove a bazillion miles to race and win the Montana State Championships

and the two Sues and Amy got compliments on their fluff

Read all this and more in our race reports

24 Hours of 9-Mile race report

August 2, 2006

by Maria

I’m pretty sure Karla was hinting that I should post some sort of race report. It was super awesome to have Karla out there racing. What an awesome racer! I saw her on two of my laps. I can’t believe she was able to ride so well (and so long) with the serious heat we had on Saturday afternoon.

I represented the Bellas at 24-9 on a Coed Open team (all of us riding rigid single speeds, BTW): the lonl-lrl-kenwood racing-VB team. Steve Rowntree, the team captain, had some sort of handwriting deficiency when he filled out our entry form. Translated, the team name should read: one on one- crc (car r coffins)- kenwood racing- VB (velo bella) team. Fiona Lockhart and Josh Schwantes joined us on our quest for 24 hour glory. We pulled off a 2nd place finish in our category. If the race hadn’t been cut short due to severe weather, we might have been able to catch the first place team. Just to reinforce how awesome my team actually was, we were the only team on the podium with 2 women. The other teams had only one woman. We rocked.

We didn’t experience too much adversity during the race, aside from the weather. The first 18 hours went quite well for us. During the lap when the race was postponed (at 5:30am on Sunday), Josh’s front hub blew up and his lights went out (maybe from the downpour?), but he managed to ride it in. I sat around freezing for an hour before they resumed the race. My lap after the downpour turned out to be really fun. Only one section of single track was slick-muddy. The rest of the single track had big puddles that had hidden rocks and roots, but it wasn’t greasy. Since the dirt was more gravely, the trails stayed pretty firm. I felt like a kid splashing around in the puddles, getting all muddy. As I entered the exchange tent, I saw Steve and Fiona there. Neither of them seemed to recognize me. Sure we had been racing for a long time, but I couldn’t imagine that they forgot what I looked like! It turned out that I was a mud monster, and no longer looked like Maria! My VB jersey was totally unrecongizable. Only the whites of my eyes were visible. Too bad I didn’t get a photo of myself!

Steve left to do his lap and Fiona hosed me off. I think she had a pretty good time doing that. With most of the mud off my body, I decided to take a real shower. I was so muddy, that dirt had somehow gotten into my bike shorts and was crusted into my chamois! I was wearing those classy new H-wood shorts by Louis Garneau- the wafflebutt chamois. It turns out those little dimples are great for holding the dirt. I had little waffle shaped mud pieces in my shorts! I took a photo of my muddy chamois, but everyone has told me its too gross to put online.

The officials decided to cancel the race again while Steve was on his lap. This time it was cancelled for good. Fiona was ready to rock out on our team’s final lap, too. For determining finish times, they didn’t count Josh’s lap in the downpour, my lap in the mud or Steves lap in the mud. We felt a little cheated since we all thought we could crank out some good laps that morning and over take the 1st place team. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year!

I know theres one more race report out there… Dana?

Bellas Take Heat at Montana State Road Racing Championships

August 2, 2006

by Renee

Being an attorney, I tend to write articles a little longer than they
need to be—that power of persuasion thing. For those of you who like
a shorter version, I’ve included it as well.

SHORT VERSION: Bellas captured the 1st place (Reneé Coppock) and 2nd
place (Zoe Smith) podium spots in the Cat 3 Division of the Montana
State Road Racing Championships held in Whitefish, Montana, and 7th
in the Cat 4 division (Tina Whitfield).

LONG VERSION: Road racing in Montana—nothing is quite like it.
Scenic courses, little traffic and travel time that generally equates
to more than double the time actually spent riding the bike. The
Montana State Road Race Championships were slated for a gorgeous
course with something for everyone—a downhill start, flat sections, a
few rollers and some steep climbs, one aptly named the “wall”. I had
almost decided to bag the state championship race, given the fact
that it was being held near Whitefish, at least a 7 ½ hour drive from
Billings. To add to the complications, my folks were visiting from
Illinois, and my 7 year old had an “art show” slated for the Friday
before the race to show off everything that was accomplished during
art camp. However, fellow Bella Tina wanted to ride in her first
road race championship. We decided to make the trek together, hoping
for cooler weather than the 103 degrees we had been experiencing in

We hit the road Friday afternoon and began our journey. Town after
town passed by on the interstate before a large cloud of smoke came
into view. This has not been a great fire season in Montana. It
seems like ½ our state is on fire. Great for the allergies. We
watched as helicopters flew over the burning area, spreading buckets
of flame retardant. The buckets seemed ridiculously small compared
to the size of the fire. Luckily, the interstate was still open,
despite the smoke. With Tina as the guide, we made our way past
Missoula and headed toward Kalispell. But what is this? The road
was missing…. No one had told us that the highway was under
massive “de-construction.” We crawled along at a rate of about 20
mph, thoroughly dusting our bikes. Zoe and Jackie could have ridden
their mountain bikes over the road faster than we were traveling.

We reached our hotel about a 1 ½ hours later than we had hoped, and
noted that it did not seem cooler in Whitefish. The trusty Weather
Channel told us to expect 97-degree temperatures by the end of the
race. Joy. After cleaning our dust-laden bikes, we hit the sack.

Race morning—sunny and hot. After Tina checked Floyd’s progress in
the time trial, we headed out the door to scope the course. We were
sweating just packing our gear into the car! Tina and I hoped the
hills were not as steep as they seemed as we drove the course. I
sure didn’t remember them being that steep last year. After the
turnaround, we noted 2 deer near the road, so I slowed down.
However, as Tina shouted a warning, the least intelligent of the pair
zigzagged and ran right into the driver’s side of the car. He
bounced on the road, hooves flying in the air, righted himself and
then ran into the woods. The driver’s door would not open very wide,
and the deer left some hide behind, but our bikes weren’t injured,
and we didn’t have to drag a bloody carcass off the race course.

The accident had our adrenaline going as we registered, and I was
sure I had all the bad luck for the day out of the way. Tina warmed
up wearing a wrist brace, the result of a mountain bike race that had
not gone exactly as planned. It was already in the mid-80’s, so we
knew that the brace would be a sweaty hindrance. Despite the lack of
the initials “M.D.” behind either of our names, we opted to remove
the brace and tape Tina’s wrist and hand. What could that hurt?

As we lined up for the start, we noticed a few new faces among the
familiar racers, including Rebecca Falls, who was in the area for
Trek Travel and was well acquainted with the Tennessee Velo Bella
riders. The first mile was straight downhill and gave us a much
needed breeze. We turned onto a flat section of the course and began
a somewhat relaxed pace line. The goal was to avoid a reoccurrence
of last year’s crash that wiped out about half the women’s field
before the 7-mile mark. We were successful. When we hit the first
hills, Danyel, a strong rider, took off like we were in a finish line
sprint. I grabbed her wheel, thinking “What the heck? We still have
30 miles to go!) Fellow Bella Zoe hooked onto my wheel, and we were
determined to stay together. The next climb broke the entire pack
apart, as Danyel continued to ride hard up the steeper portions.
Danyel, Zoe and I made a break for it, under Zoe’s direction. We
sped up, trying to increase the gap. We thought we were moving along
at a rapid pace when a 4th rider, Lara, riding for GAS/Heritage
Homes, joined us. How did she catch us?

Hill after hill, as we charged up we put a gap on Lara. But she kept
bridging the gap. This was going to be a hard race. The temperature
began to rise even more as we hit the “wall.” We were now determined
to drop Lara. In the fight to get to the top, we lost Zoe, but she
is a strong rider and a good sprinter, so we kept going, thinking she
would soon catch us. Danyel and I took turns pulling, but she seemed
to be slowing. I didn’t want Lara to catch us, so I kept encouraging
Danyel to dig deep and pull hard. At the turn around, not only was
Zoe less than 30 seconds behind us, but Lara was as well. We just
didn’t know enough about Lara’s strengths to make an educated guess
about how she sprinted at the finish line. She was definitely strong
and persistent. After seeing the two work together, I told
Danyel “we are toast.” At this speed they were going to catch us.
Danyel sped up, but then faded big time. I kept pulling, but she
finally dropped off. I decided to time trial it the last 14 or so
miles, rather than try to sprint at the end. We had a slight
headwind, but some substantial downhills as well. What did I have to
lose? I can’t sprint in a group.

I saw Tina on the road, not yet to the turn around. She was looking
strong, but riding solo, just like me. Her wrist seemed to be
holding up, but there were some major potholes and rough section
ahead, especially on the downhill. The heat doesn’t usually affect
my performance, so I was hoping my time trial skills would pay off.
I didn’t ride the downhill sections as cautiously as I usually do,
clocking over 40 mph on a rough, curvy road. I must be insane! All
I could think about was Zoe, Danyel and Lara working together in the
headwind to catch me. I said my usual prayers and hoped to hold on.
With about 5-7 miles to go, “IT” began—the twinges in my right quad,
the sign that cramps could soon follow. I drank more frequently and
tried to think positive thoughts—I love my bike; I love the heat; I
love bike racing (right……)

With about 2 miles to go, I couldn’t see anyone approaching from
behind, but I felt my cadence slowing. Cycling is great fun, I told
myself, as sweat rolled in my eyes. Finally, the 1 k mark—still no
one in sight. 200 meters—a slight sprint and victory! All I could
think about, however, was cold water and headed back to the start for
a drink.

The next women to reach the 200-meter mark were Lara and Zoe, with
Zoe taking the sprint, as she usually does. Danyel rode in for a 4th
place finish. Tina finished the race in 7th in the Cat 4 division.
The wrist did prove to be a problem on the rough sections, but
she “cowgirl upped” and sprinted in.

After Tina and I cleaned up as much as you can in a state park
parking lot, we hit the road again for a the long trek back—this time
to Cooke City, with a night time drive through Yellowstone Park. All
in all, 1158 car miles, 49 bike miles. Cycling in Montana—you gotta
love it.

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