Hudson CX

September 30, 2006

Saturday CX – Hudson
I headed over to Hudson, Wisco for the CX race with Bella Maria on Saturday. She brought the Kona MTB with some sweet commuter wheels for her cross rig. That girl does it all – last year she did the Boom Island CX on a road bike, with regular road tires. Wow. Anyway, we pre-rode the course and I decided that it was pretty much made for me – flat and fairly technical with lots of tight corners, sand and mud. There was one little drop-off into a puddle, and Maria warned me after we warmed up not to go off the left side of it, because there was a big hole that she’d been fortunate enough to ride into. ….

Read more at Karla’s blog…

Irongirl Duoathlon

September 30, 2006

Irongirl 2006 Cycle
Originally uploaded by evilpanda.

News girl note: You know those friends who always call when you are getting busy… it seems that me and blogger are the same way. Sorry about the lateness of this post.

This season has been a strange one for me – not really getting to
ride too much due to the personal life and injuries…but none the
less, I decided to sign up for the 2 duathlons I did last year, once

This past weekend, I raced in the Iron Girl Duathlon in Bloomington,
MN. Last year, the bike portion was terrible! There was a stretch
where we couldn’t pass and I got stuck behind some grandma out for
her Sunday ride….literally…the woman wasn’t even in the race! This
year, they changed the course due to so many complaints from the
athletes last year (which numbered 250). I had done a lot more
training last year for the race, and ended up 3rd in my age group,
and 26th of 250. This year, I had high expectations of myself to
finish in the top 15…maybe even top 10!

Boy, was I wrong at the level of athletes that would be there this
year! I knew that the pool had grown to 600 women competing, but I
didn’t realize that there would be some people there who had just
finished the Ironman in Wisconsin, qualifying for Kona with a time of
less than 10 hours!!! I believe 3 of the top 5 all did that!

Needless to say, I decided that I couldn’t compare myself to them…I
had not been training like they had this summer, so they could blow
me away. What I decided I’d do is compare myself to me from last
year. The distances this year were longer for running and for
riding, and the course was MUCH better!

I had a birthday the week before and decided to spend the time, until
Saturday in New York City. The plane ride home was nice (first
class!), and I did catch some good zzz’s. However, there is
something to be said for traveling right before a race – I think I’d
like to not fly the night before. Oh well…I made the choice to have
fun on my birthday, now it was time to pay for that!

Running around Normandale Lake, the scenery was beautiful as the
colors are hitting their peaks. Starting out, I remembered how I
need to pace myself and not let the first run take my energy. I ran
comfortably, then got to transition (which was not designed well —
you had to run around the area before getting into it — doing that
with cycling shoes was not fun!). I realize that transitions are not
my strength! I hop onto the bike and start my clock. The gals who
had passed me on foot — no challenge for me on the wheels! I
caught up to many and passed many women who were really strong on the
run. Their advantage is that they have another run after the bike –
my advantage is that the bike portion is 5 times as long as the run
portion! Not realizing how hilly Bloomington is, I was amazed at the
change in difficulty of the ride from last year. I kept in mind the
information that I had learned at Balance from Fiona, and Barb
Harrick in my mind saying “Keep the Cadence!” So I did that on those
long climbs. At one point, there was a spectator, obviously familiar
with cycling, who shouts at me on the climb “Great Cadence! You’re
smoking!” Wow – that was really good to hear — I was doing it
right, and someone noticed!!! I continued to play leap frog with
some of the gals who were strong, and on the second ½ of the ride,
managed to drop the leap froggers. My average was MUCH better than
last year on a course that was much more difficult. I heard many of
the other women stating how they thought the course was harder than
they had anticipated as well. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a
course that was extreme or unbearable…just exceded my expectations!

All in all, I ended up 37 of 600 Athletes. I finished the race in
1:44. I guess I can say I’m pretty happy with my time and
placement. What I’m even happier about is the fact that I was out
there again, racing! Representing the Bellas in stylish fashion,
some of the people that were cheering recognized the Bella colors and
even shouted “GO BELLA!”

I love being associated with the Bellas – Oh la la!

Until next weekend’s report from Green Bay – Ciao~

St. Cloud Cyclocross– 9/24/06

September 27, 2006

At least 2 of our bellas were up there racing– Barb and Karla!. Karla! has a race report up in her blog.

9/23/06 morning ride

September 27, 2006

n spite of threatening rain and pessimistic weather reports, I showed up to Harvest Moon to find 4 other Bellas already there. Barb, Kate, Jen, and… oops, Bruce, I guess he’s not quite a Bella. But we can pretend for now. We chatted for a good 15 minutes and then headed out towards Wayzata. We took the Cedar Lake Trail out to somewhere and then wound through some neighborhoods. We chatted about the drama in our (mine and Jen’s – the single ones) lives and then Bruce beat me on the townline sprint into Wayzata. Darnit. We had a potty stop at the Caribou, and then decided to make our way back on McGinty Drive. Barb beat me on the townline sprint on the way back, and then she had some intervals for us to do, so we opened up the legs with two 4-minutes intervals. That felt good. All in all we had a lovely ride, and it was even sunny by the time we got home! Nice.

by– Karla


September 27, 2006

Originally uploaded by evilpanda.

What a great ride!

We were 7 (count ’em, SEVEN!) Bellas strong today (Jennifer, Paula,
Brooke, Manda, Maria, JoAnna (on her first ride with us!) and me),
plus one bonus Betty (Heather). All of us were absolutely thrilled
to see the sunshine and blue skies! Though the morning started cool,
we warmed up in no time with the help of that lately AWOL glowing orb
in the sky.

We set out into Shoreview, rolled eastward to Withrow, with every
mile bringing us closer to White Bear Lake AND . . . donuts and
coffee and pie, OH MY! The orchard was a nice carrot for us as we
rode on, especially as it seemed to take a while to finally come (it
was at around mile 30). We were happy to stop for a break. It
really felt like fall out there among the apples, and it’s starting
to look like it, too, with lovely fall colors.

Thanks to Jennifer (via her friend, Julia, who gave her a coupon) we
all enjoyed a slice of FREE apple pie! Mmmmm. We had just finished
up our goodies when lo and behold – there were Sara(n) and little
Leo!! What a treat – yet another Bella AND our podium baby! They
stopped to chat and we promptly overwhelmed little Leo with our Bella
baby coos and happy greeting. The poor little guy burst into tears.
The waterworks didn’t last long though and I have to say, that Leo
gets more adorable every time I see him. What a sweetie! Thanks for
coming out Sara(n)!

Sitting down to enjoy our orchard stop did give us a little chill,
and we decided it was time to continue. After a couple of teeth-
chattering minutes, the sun warmed us again as we continued back to
Bald Eagle Lake and on to Shoreview. What a great day. There was no
shortage of chat and laughter on this very nice ride. I think the
happy spirit was contagious – we sure got waved on through plenty of
stop signs AND didn’t get honked at or yelled at even once! Our
total mileage was 45 at an average speed of 16.9 mph. (I haven’t
downloaded my photos yet. If any turned out, I’ll post ’em.)

Fall has only just begun. I hope the orchard will be a nice lure for
another ride soon – maybe October?

Thank you so much, ladies, for coming out and making the orchard ride
a success!! A very special thanks to JoAnna, for joining in on her
first Bella ride! It was great to have you, and WELCOME!

Have a great week, y’all!

Cheakamus Challenge

September 26, 2006

By Shannon Holden

Well what can I say we all have to have a race weekend like the one I just had. Lets just say from leaving the house Friday to drive up to Whistler and race, everything that could have gone wrong did.

The 8 hour drive to Squamish turned into a 12 hour ordeal between traffic and construction. When we got to Squamish the only hotel room we can find is smoking. So we gave it a try. There wasn’t any places open for dinner so we had to make due with what we had. Noah didn’t sleep at all that night so neither did I.

We get up around 7 and we realize we left the race info in Spokane. We had no idea of where it starts, I kind of remembered something about the airport so we finally found it. This should have been the first clue that we should have skipped the race. We finally figure it out.

We start the race, knowing it is about a 4 hours plus race. I decided to start at my own pace and hope to catch the women later. Well this also wasn’t such a great idea. I got behind a ton of people that couldn’t ride up steep hills in the first few climbs so I got to walk my bike and get further and further behind. About 5 miles in my breaks start to fail me chattering along I figure they will last. So feeling good I start to pick up the pace only to be stopped at the highway crossing and loose the pack in front of me. They were stopping us until there was a group of about 20 then letting us cross.

Once going again we head into the forest where the course isn’t marked well so 3 guys and I get lost for about 20 minutes. It must be a male trait, getting lost. These guys had to dig down and ask for some womenly advise for how to get back. So now is where the fun began for me. We hit some really techinical sections and I felt something catch my bike. Well a branch caught my quick release on my rear wheel and opened is so about 2 drops later I lost my rear wheel. Yes I lost my rear wheel! I flatted about halfway through and almost endo’ed, my shifting went bad with 10 miles to go, and I was getting really low on water. I also cramped about this point partially from all the hike-a-bike sections and partially because I had been out for 2 1/2hours plus.

I finally ask one of the guys I was riding with if he had ridden this before, he said yes the climbing had just begun. I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty so I stopped put on the MP3 and ate some Energy sharks and hit the trail with a new attitude….survival.

The best part of the race were the men scattered all around on the side of the course cramping and having to stop. About 5 miles from the finish I ran into my husband who was one of those men cramping. We got to finish together only after I pulled him up the last 3 mile hill climb, I felt pretty good about that. I also felt pretty good about the fact I never saw my heart rate drop below 172bpm, I don’t actully know if that is a good thing.

So a race that should have taken me 4 hours took 5 hours. The top 3 placing I had prepared mentally was gone. The good thing is I got in a great training and some good technical training. I also learned that through adverse situations we become who were are; I may have had almost every mechanical in the book but manged to keep on pushing and finish with a smile. Even better, is now I can’t wait for a Cross race only 1 hour of pure pain rather than 5 hours.

Thanks to all who listen!

Vermont Grand Prix

September 25, 2006

by the Scout Stephanie White

This weekend was most eventful indeed! I went up to Vermont with my family to do the two “Vermont Grand Prix” races. The race on Sunday was UCI, but the one on Saturday was not. Thus, Saturday was a test run of sorts before the real race the next day. All of this ended up working out for the best.

Saturday’s course was technical and wet. It rained in the morning, but was just cloudy for my race. There were lots of tight, slick corners and a few muddy sections. Most of it was on grass, but with switchbacks and a few steep climbs for half of the course. The other half was fast and great for drafting. I started well and got right on Amy Wallace’s wheel. After half a lap I was sitting comfortably with Mandy Lozano and Marie-Pier Bedard a little behind Amy. Everything was going well, I was faster through the technical and drafted on the flat stuff, when suddenly my rear derailleur made this horrible noise and my wheels stopped! I hopped off and looked at my bike to see my derailleur ripped off the hanger and stuck through the frame into my spokes. I ran back to the pit but didn’t have a spare bike and decided to save it for the UCI race.

That night I dropped my bike off at a shop in Burlington. They said they would probably be able to bend the hanger back, but they thought it was a temporary fix… I just wanted to get through the race and win some UCI points. Last year I only got a few points near the end of the year. Every race I went to I’d get 11th or 12th, just out of points. This year I’m trying to change that. I want to get a better start position for nationals.

I got my bike the next morning and, thankfully, made it through the race without any mechanicals. I didn’t get a great start, but after a lap I was with Rebecca Wellons with Mo Bruno and Amy up ahead. Mandy caught us in the next half lap and dropped us both. The last two laps I started to feel extremely dehydrated and Rebecca pulled ahead of me. I was able to hang on to 5th, which is much better than I usually do against these women (not to mention within UCI points!) All in all the weekend went well, my goal was top 10 and I made it.

Charm City CX – Baltimore, MD

September 25, 2006

by Melanie and Dee-Dee

More podiums for Velo Bella/Kona…the cyclocross season is now upon us. Baltimore, MD hosted the kick-off event for the Mid-Atlantic region which brought out a record number of spectators and racers for the event. It’s really exciting to see how many
women came out for the event with 16 in the elite category race and 18 beginner women for the earlier race, impressive. Below is the race report from Melanie and Dee-Dee.

***** The start, from Melanie***
Dee-Dee and I lined up alongside local Washington DC area road-race standouts and another local talent, who like cyclocross natl champ Katie Compton has her roots
in the Mid-Atlantic region, 2005 US MTB champion Georgia Gould.

The whistle goes off and out of the fury of wheels and elbows from the mad dash to the top of the paved hill and toward the finish line area, Dee-Dee emerges with the whole-shot and leads us through the first set of tricky grass off-camber turn.

Georgia was on D’s wheel, and I was right behind waiting and watching. After navigating a tricky 90degree turn up and over an off-camber root and then having to
dig it in up over a little grunt of a rise, Georgia makes the pass and being on her wheel I came around as well.

With Georgia in the lead, I was wondering how this was all going to turn out. My thoughts started to wonder and then all of a sudden Georgia dropped right away into the first pit and I was in the driver’s seat. (Georgia had a crooked stem from a mishap in the Men’s B race which she led most of and went on to finish 3rd). I had
flashbacks of watching Christine and Barb work together as the Bella one-two punch of last year. I thought this is it, let’s go.

***** The rest of the race, from the Grasshopper*****
At this point I am still fumbling with my handling through the curves carrying about zero momentum as we head into the windy section of the course. On the long grassy straight, I pull through and Melanie hops on my wheel. We power up the long double barrier run/ride up with the heat glaring down on us.

The course takes us back towards the crowds with a fast and fun grassy decent, followed by a quick drop off a curb, cross the road, and a quick bunny hop up the other curb to proceed to the natural set of barriers. Clink! Chink! My chain is off and I can’t get it back on.

Melanie comes blazing by and starts hammering away. I managed to get the chain back on and worked back up to her and took over on the long windy grassy straight again. I didn’t want to look back for fear Georgia might be right on my wheel….Then the smoothness came. I remembered, this is what cross is all about. The pain, the feeling of nausea from exertion AND the energy, the pizzazz, that you get when you get in your rhythm.

If only every race you could always find it. I am still searching for that magic tool to be able to do so. It is great to be back and I was extremely pleased
with how the Bellas finished up.

Sacramento Series CX report

September 25, 2006

By Erin Kassoy

Sacramento Cyclocross Blog

Some pictures…

The cyclocross season has arrived. It somehow seems
too early and warm for it to be cross season, but
that’s California for you.

So Sat morning I drove up to Vacaville for a sunny,
dusty, hilly jaunt around the Lagoon Valley Park.
Warming up I seriously wondered what I was doing
there, as I frequently do before a race, but went
through the motions to get ready. My fella, Dario,
built up a bike last week and decided to join me. We
pre-rode together – It’s always fun schooling a former
pro roadie through the barriers and technical stuff,
though he gets me back in a serious way any time it’s
flat or uphill.

The A crowd was small, which was good for my nerves in
my first race of the season. It was nice to see Bella
Andi Mackie at the line. I had a great start and took
the hole shot with Colleen Wanty (Luna) on my wheel.
I then let her pull through the headwind section and
took back the lead prior to the one outrageously long
steep hill on the course. But I didn’t have great
legs on the first lap and got passed up the climb.
Collen then opened up a gap never to shrink the rest
of the race (she did the men’s A race too, crazy). So
I hung out in 2nd with no one visible behind me for
several laps but then I realized I was hungry, it was
getting really hot and they wouldn’t let us feed, and
my back was killing me. Not sure if it was mental or
physical but I fell apart in the last two laps and got
passed by Sarah Maile near the end. So, I ended up
3rd for some gas money and the first race out of the
way. Andi finished up 4th.

After the race my legs and back were completely
wrecked but I slowwwly rode to various parts of the
course during the men’s A race to cheer on Dario, who
finished 2nd in his first cross race in many years.

Next up: Wednesday I leave for NY to join Anna and
Melanie at Southhampton, and then I head to Boston to
join the rest of the crowd at the USGP in Gloucester.

CCCX #1 Race Report

September 25, 2006

by Sarah Kerlin

CCCX Schedule

Finally, it’s here, the first cyclocross race of the season is tucked away in my pocket, and we are all off and rolling with the first of the national series events only 2 weeks away. I’ve been contemplating what this season might hold since way back in April, when I first hit the nasty steep hills of Westside Santa Cruz for evil, evil hill repeats. Back then, I’d head out for these nightmarish intervals with dread, and at the top of each hill I’d think, so this is what a lack of fitness tastes like – blood, sweat, and vomit all mixed together. It was never a good feeling; I wanted a feeling of working hard and conquering a hill, but instead I was only beat down by the hill and crept back for each repeat with a sickening burning in my legs and lungs and belly.

Time and training passed by, and recently I hit that hill again for intervals, and it felt oh-so-good, as if my legs and arms and breathing all worked as one and I loved every moment of it. Now I can keep my eyes on the dead end at the top of the evil hill, which isn’t as steep now, and I can fly up it like a fit, ready to race machine.

But even with the knowledge that I had that fitness now, I still arrived at the first of the Central Coast Cyclocross events with nervous anticipation. No matter what you’ve experienced in training, it never can be as painful as the true test of race day. I arrived early so Matty Wabbit could line up with Master’s As, but still I had a moment of pre-race nerves when I discovered I had forgotten my flair!

Thank god for teammates, as Jen Chapman came to my rescue. I was exiting the ladies room when I spotted Jen and Brent just rolling up in the Euro Van. I ran up to Jen, in a panic. I needed something, anything to accessorize! I couldn’t line up without a girly frilly something.

“Jen,” I cried, “I’ve come empty handed! Do you have anything? Can you help a sister out?”

Jen, calm and collected, pulled out of her purse a nice little purple package, saying “I always travel with flair!” She showed me how to install it on my stem with the handy little plastic applicator, and I was off to finish my warm up. Whew, what would I do without the girls on my team being prepared, even when I’m not!

Before I knew it we were lined up, I was next to some Giant Strawberries and Rock Lobsters and Ann Fitzy was just behind me, soaking in the scene like a cool cat waiting to pounce. Stella was quick off the start, and early on a group of 5 of us rode off the front. I was the lone Bella riding with Stella and Shelley of Rock Lobster, and Mel and Josie of Giant Strawberry. I’m glad to see that the idea of teamwork in cross racing has caught on, but I was on the wrong end of it! Our group stayed together for a few laps, Stella was doing a great job pulling us around and I was sitting near the back of the group thinking about strawberry margaritas on the rocks.

I made a move to front on a fast downhill about 2 1/2 laps into the race, and kept pushing the pace back up the hill on the course. I opened a gap, and decided this was going to stick. I pushed through the turns a little faster than I had earlier in the race, and each time up the long paved hill to the finish, I hammered out of the saddle. After all those times suffering by myself up that lonely hill in a quiet neighborhood, with no one to cheer, no glory on the line, I knew I had to do it again today when it counted. It was one of those moments when your worst pain in training comes around to payoff when you need it to.

I was having a good time on the fast downhill parts of the course, too, swinging through the rolling singletrack in the trees when I hit a root, hard. Thud! Exiting the dark tree section was a super bumpy hard pack descent and I was dismayed to hear a loud rhythmic screeching honking noise…. oh, what part of my bike was broken? Crap! But then something from my foggy, distant memory came into focus and I recognized that sound, it was Brent playing Paul Sadoff’s brass horn. On I went, while Brent put down the horn and dug up a tasseled argyle bagpipe for the next lap.

I held my gap open to end to take the win, with the Rock Lobster ladies riding in behind me. The Giant Strawberries rounded out the top 5, and Fitzy rolled in just a little bit back, quick to hand up a high-five at the top of the hill. I collected my box of strawberries, disrobed from the chamois as quick as a flash, and sat down to spectate the men’s race. And so the season begins…… .

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