September 16, 2006
Giro della Toscana Femminile, Italy
128th, Hiroko Shimada
97th, Hiroko Shimada
68th, Hiroko Shimada
77th, Hiroko Shimada
87th, Hiroko Shimada
65th, Hiroko Shimada
58th, Hiroko Shimada
Overall General Classification
55th, Hiroko Shimada
Foreign Rider Classification
44th, Hiroko Shimada
Mount Tamalpais Hillclimb, CA
6th, Patty Selbicky, Women 1/2/3
12th, Elizabeth Benishin, Women 1/2/3
Sacramento Cyclocross #1–Folsom Rodeo, CA
6th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women A/B
9th, Yvette Crockrell, Women C
New England Series–Sucker Brook Cyclocross, NH
2nd, Stephanie White, Elite Women
4th, Calllie McDowell, Women B
September 16, 2006
by Heather Kirkby
Do you dream of bungee cords? The magic ones that connect you to the rider in front when you’re going up some horrific climb at a gut-wrenching pace? I do.
And so, when Mark pulled out a bungee cord from under his saddle saying “here, grab this, throw it over your stem”, I thought I was in heaven. We were training in Skeggs and the boys were putting the hurt on me on a fire-road climb. In that instant my dream of so many years came true. I was being towed. And very quickly I realized this was in fact hell. The reality is you end up biking a heck of a lot harder once you’re ‘on the cord’ for probably all kinds of psychological and physical reasons. Shame? Pride? Fear? Excitement? Alas, some things are better left to the fantasy world.
This summer I did two local adventure races with a couple of guys that contacted the VB list. They were seeking a chick teammate. I was seeking a change from bike racing. One night ride in Marin later and I knew I wanted to race with these guys. I also knew it was going to hurt. I still didn’t know anything about the bungee cords.
AR is mostly a flair-free world, but it is not without creativity. Their self-expression is all in the team name. I think my favorite name is Dirty Avacados. A recent coastal race even had a name contest – and Salty Crack were the winners. Other gems include – Beer is Near, We got the Hall Pass, Team not in Training, Moms gone Wild, Freebird and the Devil Pig, and Quit yer Bitchin’.
The races I did were in great local parks. They were both considered a ‘sprint’. 6 hours of racing is a sprint? Uh, ok. I’m really looking forward to a longer race so I can drag my ass more and do what I do best – eat.
Proudest moments of the summer? I was not towed on the bike in either race. But, uh, in the second race, in the run, they dragged my sorry butt all over Del Valle Park on the end of a bungee cord. These guys will tow anything – bike, boat, and yes, a draggin-ass-runner.
SVS1 – Grant Ranch Park, side of Mt.Hamilton, San Jose, CA
Freaking hot, freaking fast. I had not raced in a long time (half a year plus) and so it was a bittersweet reunion with my friend Pain. In these races we navigate the whole time (well, our teammate Mark does all the navigation, we are just a few extra sets of lungs + legs along for the ride) – so it’s sort of like doing a giant orienteering course and sometimes you’re running, sometimes you’re biking, and sometimes you’re paddling all the while in search of spots on the map. The run hurt. From the start we blasted up 800 feet (surely to spread things out a bit, like the old Sea Otter mtb start). Ouch. From there we ran through fields, scrambled up and down river canyons (uh, yes, no escaping the poison oak). I even ripped my fav Bella shorts as I crawled under a barbed wire fence – a few months later I still have a nice long reminder of that incident on my outer thigh. Man, was I happy to get on the bike. The heat was unreal – it was during that 100 plus season we had this summer. I was popping endurolytes like a kid in a candy store (with $ and no parents).
The whole scene was totally low-key. I loved it. The event organizers had parked their RV next to the start/finish line. When we crossed the finish line they were completely rocking the BBQ! Sweet.
SVS2 – Del Valle Park, Livermore, CA
This one hurt more. A lot more. I mean, within minutes from the start the pain was coursing through my veins and I’m thinking “argh, this is horrible”. Double ouch. The guys were on fire on the run, and it was a long run. I turned myself inside out to stay with them – one of them was carrying my camelback and the other one was towing me! We ran and ran and ran some more. Up, down, cross-country. The guys are really great and encouraging. I love the whole dynamic of being a team and all having to finish together. You really start thinking of others’ needs – physical, mental, nutrition, gear. I have never been so happy to see my fat tires. Whatever part of me that died on that run was definitely not the biker because I was pretty psyched once we got rolling. We jetted all over that park. Unbelieveable. Finally, we hopped in the kayaks to paddle down the lake to get the final orienteering control point. We’d been neck and neck with the Silly Rabbits all day (due in part to a flat tire or two that they had). They quickly pulled away from us in the water and we were left in their wake. It wasn’t a bad way to go. We’d absolutely raced our hearts out and rolled in for a close 2nd, snatching up the 2nd of 3 qualifying spots for US Adventure Race Nationals. I had the cramp of a lifetime when we exited the boats for the final 100 yd run up a slope to the finish. Oh, not happy legs, not happy legs. I’d been warned and had been trying to wiggle them to ward off the cramps before getting out of the boat. To no avail. The last thing I said during the race was “Grant, gimme your hand, I can’t walk”. Nice.
Some Happy Finishers
Onward to Natz
So off we go to Natz in early November. They are conveniently in Santa Barbara this year. This race is billed as being 24-30 hours so a whole different game than what I have known. Less speed, more food, it’s gonna be great, right? We’re doing a 24-hour race in Tahoe in early October as training so we’ll see. Though the organizers said the fastest teams may finish Tahoe in 12-14 hours. Grant said if we finish in less than 14 hours we’re turning right around and doing it backwards. They want to see how I handle the ‘sleep monsters’ (this is genuine AR lingo…it is some kind of wacked out bonk from lack of sleep).
September 15, 2006
Check it out by clicking here
September 13, 2006
Carrera de San Rafael, CA
18th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
Kona 24 Hour Global Series #2–Snow Mountain Ranch, CO
2nd, Cat Morrison, Solo Female
September 13, 2006
I just completed this 24 hour race near Winter Park, Colorado. I placed 2nd female and now that its over can say I had fun.
My body is brutally aching but I’m on that post race high. It was super cool to have my Velo Bella jersey on because it was recognized by all the Kona guy riders who offered words of encouragement when they passed me. I would have worn it on the podium my quite frankly it was a little stinky and a lot muddy.
So I rode 210 miles in the 24 hours and 15 loops. The first several were brutal because of all the mud and I only had one bike so my boyfriend/mechanic/support crew was working hard for the duration too trying to keep my bike running. Wow, most of the girls had 3 bikes which would have made it a lot easier. So considering that I feel pretty good about my solid 2nd place. Anyway just thought I’d brag a bit. thanks for reading – cat morrison
September 11, 2006
So, I am proclaiming that this is the Ride that I was the Leader
for….Yes, I couldn’t let my Bellas who signed up for it down….I
must show, I must ride on! I must know the route!!! (does this
really count as a ride I led???) ha ha! Here’s the ride report, and
I do apologize for not being a great writer…but I’ll give it a shot!
“100 miles – no problem! I can do this!!! I’ve done it before! I
know I can….”
Those were the initial thoughts I had on Saturday morning as I was
taking a warm shower to wake myself up! I also had thoughts
of “You’ve only ridden 300 miles this summer…this is going to be
25% of your entire time in the saddle today!” (due to a shoulder
dislocation…) and I didn’t factor in the fact that it really was
flippin’ cold and I didn’t grab the right stuff to wear. Still, I
was going to do it….and I couldn’t let another Bella down….she
was my support (or as she learned on the ride….my SAG…standing
for “Support and “Guidance” “). I don’t think Jennifer really
understood what she had signed up for…and it wasn’t the pain of the
100 miles for her…it was the PITA (pain in the a…) that I was!!!
It started out with 2 people who didn’t know each other, hadn’t
talked to each other, and only shared a couple of emails to one
another prior to the ride. Unknown to each was the fact that they
were practically neighbors! So, the arrangements for the morning
pick up were fairly seamless – a great way to start the day! The
Friday night before the ride was a late one for both girls — Kristy
(me) had been out with some friends the night before for “Girls
Night” and none of the friends seemed to really care or understand
what “riding 100 miles at 7:00 AM” was all about…they wanted me to
keep drinking. I’d cut myself off early enough, but the text message
from the concerned boyfriend at 11:00 pm summed it up for me…all it
read was: “100 Miles”. I got the point…time to come home and get
some zzzzz’s. Jennifer had been asked out on a random blind date,
and much to her avail, the night went nicely and finished a bottle of
wine much later than she had anticipated. 2 sleepy gals getting
ready for the 100 mile ride….great introductory setting. At least
we were both in the same boat!
The chat to get to know each other on the way to Northfield was
great – I got to vent about how I hoped the ex wouldn’t be at the
ride as well, and she got to tell me all about her and her job,
things she enjoys, how she got into cycling, etc. When we arrived in
Northfield, we park the car (near the smelly horses….had to get the
nostrils ready for that smell for the ride!) and start to get ready.
As we exit the car, we notice the sea of yellow-jackets….and I
don’t mean as in “Buzzing Bees”….only a cyclist could appreciate
the sea of yellow we saw as we decided to get ready for the ride. Of
course, we were in our bella blue and pink, and didn’t have a jacket
to cover it up (shoot – we were going to be cold in our short
sleeves! Oh well…we’re tough Bellas.) We parked next to an
inquisitive gentleman who commented on the pink hubs I have. Glad he
was looking at those instead of Jen in the car doing the “Towel
Change” she executed in perfect time! It seemed as though he was
fishing for some riding buddies, but we both agreed – “too weird!”
Besides, we needed to meet up with Kate! As we were waiting for
Kate, I decided I’d be lazy and let the crew from Erik’s pump up my
tires. I wheel the bike over to the tent where the tech
says, “What’s this!??!” as he holds up my Flander’s and Turtleman
(Gear West) water bottles. I innocently exclaim “I don’t have any
Erik’s bottles….what do you expect!” After much poking (and
perhaps flirting), he comments on the pink fluid I have to match my
pink hubs and gives the hub a whirl to hear the Chris King “tick tick
tick tick” that they do so well and exclaims “aaah, music to my
ears”. Jen gets hers checked out too and he comments on the nice
orange bike as he examines her apparently acceptable water bottles.
We go to check in and get the goods so we can be ready when Kate
arrives. Kate arrives; we greet her, go back and forth with her a
little between the car and “should we leave yet??” while she waits
for her other friends to arrive. Jen and I decide we should get
going, but we make one more trip to the school with Kate to check for
her friends to ensure we don’t leave a Bella stranded. As we are
leaving the school to embark on the Century, the Erik’s tent guy
says “Hey Ladies! I have something for you….” as he holds up 2
Erik’s bottles. SCORE! (I needed one that didn’t leak anyway….I
was disappointed with my sleepy grabbing of water bottles as it
was…the Turtleman one really has an issue and should be
recycled…). So, he again comments on the pink fluid matching and I
tell him “Hey, if you are going to match, you might as well go all
out…” Which left him thinking thoughts he chose not to say as he
said, “I won’t say anything….” and as a classy Bella, I whispered
to Jen “but I’m not wearing any panties…” to which we both laughed.
The ride was to begin…The late night left room for the giddiness
and giggles. As we started our ride, more “get to know your riding
buddy” conversations ensued. As we pass most forms of Road Kill –
fox, skunk, coon, etc….the conversation morphs into having pets,
which neither of us have. We comment how it would be nice to have
one you could fold up and put into a drawer and pull it out when you
want and put it back when you want to drop everything and go on a
ride. Realizing that’s not realistic, we discuss the opportunity for
Chia Pets….maybe we should ask for one in our stocking this year…
The ride was windy and on great roads (I was gaining points for the
smooth ones and losing them for the rough roads as the ride
leader…). Everyone in the pack was friendly and nice – what do we
expect from fellow bikers??!? Disappointingly, we didn’t see many
women out there though…..but….there wasn’t much eye candy either –
dang! We were cruising along averaging about 18 mph (which was
considerably fast in the wind and with the hills), until about mile
50 – when I told Jennifer “I’m 20 miles from the furthest distance
I’ve ridden all summer…and that was 2, 35 mile segments to
Stillwater!” I was getting tired, my legs felt tight….I was
becoming a complainer! ugh! Jennifer has great spirits and kept me
going (thanks girl!). As a group of guys passed us, around this
time, they commented “Hey, it’s the pink hubs! Nice…!” and they
dropped us. We were ok with thatas we poked some fun back at them —
there was about 6 yellow jackets in their group and they were all
pulling for each other. We were a team of 2 and we were side by
side…we are tough! At each stop, we spotted the guy who seemed to
want to ride with us….but he would usually leave before we did.
Eventually, we did come across a group of 3 guys whom we had earlier
dropped in a hurry on a down hill. **** By the way – if we wanted to
have a stellar cyclist, Jennifer’s climbing abilities combined with
my downhill speed….we’d be a rock star!!!**** As we took off again
from the 3rd stop – about mile 65 or so….these guys commented on
our bikes once again – stating that the pink hubs and orange frame
were the 2 best looking bikes they’d seen out there! Then they
proceeded to tell us that WE were what was going to keep them going
at a decent rate. There was “The Dude” (We never did get his name)
who was leading their pack, Jeffery – the 60+ year old triathlete,
yoga instructor, and personal trainer, and Patrick – a cyclist who
had been out for 8 years and now has a bum knee…. So, what the
heck – I was getting somewhat tired, they were good humor….we stuck
with them for the rest of the ride and had a few good laughs with
There were no crashes or anything really adventurous to
report….just the simple fact that it was great to have a Bella
there with me!
Today I signed up to do the Ironman Wisconsin, 2007. I figured that
if I rode 400 miles this summer, 100 in one ride, I could do it.
I’ll hear Jennifer in my ear saying “Oh come on…you’re doing
fine…you can do it, just one stroke at a time!”
When Jennifer dropped me off at the house after the ride, I was happy
to be able to step into a warm shower, but was sad that the ride was
done “so soon”. Going for that ride reminded me how much I truly do
miss riding with the Bellas and how much I look forward to finishing
this year strong and riding more next year with you gals. We have a
great crew — and yes…even SAG amongst us – but it should stand
for “Support and Giggles”…There you go Jennifer — that’s what it
means….I’ve made another new meaning for it versus “Sorry A.. Get-
Signing off from the first ride report of the year — sad and happy
to see the end of the ride –
along with Jennifer Greiber
September 8, 2006
It’s a weekend full of events for Hollywood. He’s sponsoring the Henderson Time Trials (is the name a coincidence..?! mayhaps…) and throwing a free cyclocross clinic. Click through to his site for more details.
September 8, 2006
by Sarah Kerlin
Images from Itacud Imaging
It’s September, so it’s time for the crosser’s to come out and play and remember what it feels like to go fast. In the Women’s 1/2/3 event at the Giro di San Francisco, Erin Kassoy, Troy Watson, and I lined up to represent for Velo Bella. Ann Fitzsimmons was also out there in blue, racing in the 3s earlier as a gentle warm up for the 1/2/3 event.
The field was strong with several riders each from Proman, Webcor, Palo Alto, and McGuire. On the start line I checked out the championship stripes on the sleeves of the riders standing near me, and prepared myself for the difficult race ahead. After a few weeks of long hours in preparation for cyclocross, I was not exactly feeling frisky. I figured I had come here just to have what was left of my two legs ripped off before the day was done.
The Giro is typically a fast and aggressive race, and this year was no different with attacks right away. The pavement was more rough than I remember it, so the first two laps were pretty dicey as the group had some surprise encounters with the new holes in the road. It didn’t take many laps for the first nasty crash, which happened as riders swarmed to the front of the group
approacing the first turn. I was in front of the crash, but Ann got caught behind it and ended up chasing for awhile before dropping out. Still a solid effort, being her second race of the day! I spotted Erin a few laps later so I knew I still had at least one buddy with me. The two of us mostly rode near the front, and I checked out my legs a few times by following attacks. I actually was feeling pretty lively, so I had some fun playing around but not being one of the animators. With just two riders left for our team, I decided to save my efforts for when they would really count.
With 8 laps to go, a break that looked like it might stick went off. Christine Thorburn was in it, as well as riders from Palo Alto, Proman, and McGuire. I moved to the front on the hill, and on the long back stretch I made a solo move to bridge up. Not being a threat to anyone, they let me go. I chased in the wind by myself for nearly a lap before I caught on to the break. They were moving fast, and as soon as I got there they started attacking each other. I had to keep my effort high to stay on the group, and I was in a big hole, a deep trench of misery. I told myself that cyclocross would probably hurt even more than this, so I better suck it up and get used to it. Once our break settled down again, a sixth rider bridged up to us, and then I had just a moment to consider suggesting a more civilized tactic. I thought, why not just work together? I contemplated making a bargain: please, please don’t drop me and I won’t contest the sprint! Just pretend I’m not here and make a nice happy pace line!
There never was a pace line, or even a mention of it – immediately there was another attack, and we were sprinting again. One rider burned up and faded back to the pack, a victim of the vicious combat up front. With 3 laps to go, Shelley Olds soloed off the front of our group, and they let her go. It was a tactical error, as she stayed away for the win. With my tongue hanging out and drool flying, I did my best to stay with the other three riders. With one lap to go, they attacked mercilessly and I just did my best to hold off the main field. I crossed the line in 5th, but with just a few bike lengths over a hard charging pack led by Karem Brems.
Erin finished the race in good shape as well, showing great form in her first pro crit this season. The countdown has begun and the Flamingo Flock has got our mojo on for cross season!
September 2, 2006
Green Mountain Stage Race, VT
4oth, Callie McDowell, Women 3/4
Stage 2–Circuit Race
36th, Callie McDowell, Women 3/4
Stage 3–Road Race
3oth, Callie McDowell, Women 3/4
13th, Callie McDowell, Women 3/4
25th, Callie McDowell, Women 3/4
Giro di San Francisco, CA
5th, Sarah Kerlin, Women 1/2/3
34th, Erin Kassoy, Women 1/2/3
UCI World Masters Mountain Bike Championships, Canada
5th, Kathleen Bortolussi, Cross Country, Women 40-44
September 1, 2006
My first ever Mountain Bike World Championships. I did everything that I was supposed to do. I went to an August training camp instead of the last two Norbas to do some focused training for the event. I arrived at the venue nice and early to make sure jet lag was not a factor. I tapered my hours leading up to the event. I rested lots and ate well the week before. I pre-rode in all conditions so I knew the course. I even gave up chocolate (Ok that’s a lie but I DID reduce my intake…). But even when you do everything right, it doesn’t always equate to the perfect ride. Nothing went wrong in my race, no mechanicals, no crashes, no head games, I just had one gear.
I had a great start – not too fast as I am prone to do – I was instructed not to blow up on the first big climb. So when everyone started passing me (back) on the 8min climb I didn’t worry too much because I was supposed to have some go-juice in the reserve tank for laps 4 and 5. Technically I rode really well, gaining back a few spots riding the mud but every time the hill came around girls would pick me off. My legs just seemed too weak to push the big gears. I couldn’t seem to call on these supposed reserves. I picked up the pace enough on the last two laps to pass a few people here and there but most were long gone. 31st in the end. Not bad, but not the World Championships I was looking for……Especially after so many people had helped me get there. You always want to have a kick ass race to pay them back for all their hard work and faith. I guess I worked so hard trying to qualify for worlds that I didn’t have much left for the race itself.
But…aside from my flaaaat performance I had a wicked trip. New Zealand is beautiful. The course was really fun. The kiwi fans were amazing – by then end of the week they were chanting “Oh la la, Canada”. The national team girls were great roomies. My brother/coach Kevin came to Rotorua with his family, along with my parents and Norm so I had the best pit crew and fan club (again). And I got to be the first Velo Bella to attend the mountain bike world championships. I can’t really complain.
Thanks to everyone who helped me get to worlds – a big goal for me this season. Thanks to Velo Bella – Kona for being such a fun and supportive team. Thanks to Kona for the sweet rides, Fox for the plush forks (new ’07 was yummy), SRAM for the snappy components and all of the mechanical support throughout the season, Zeal for the snazzy shades, Giro for the helmets that always matched my kits, Easton for the über light parts, Schwalbe for the sticky tread, San Marco for the comfy saddles, Hincapie for the cute kits, Helly Hansen for the stylie threads, Frontrunners for the ever-solid support, Crank Brothers for the best pedals ever, Sidi for the great shoes, Vanderkitten for the cute Ts. And thanks to Norm, Alex, Kevin, Jed, the VB-K girls and everyone else that supported me physically and mentally this season. I couldn’t have gotten there without your help!