Fiesta Island TT

February 13, 2007

by Kathleen

They’d been talking on the radio for days about the big storm heading our way: the system from northern California is moving south, we’re gonna get slammed. Now, I’ve only lived in San Diego for a few months, but I’ve realized that you only have to live here, oh say, a few days before you get kinda soft on the weather front, so I actually started wondering if I was going to go out and do this race.

But I woke up Sunday morning to just a little drizzle and figured I could live with that. Apparently, most of the other women signed up could not, since the women’s field shrunk considerably from the pre-registration list. But, the Bellas showed up!

I met up with Julia and Raja at registration, got our numbers and went off to set up the trainers. As we warmed up, we chatted with people who came by and got some stories from men who’d been among the early starters and were already done. We heard about some slippery corners and strong winds and I was thinking maybe Julia would still let me eat the post-race donuts she’d brought if I just sat on my trainer for another hour.

But our time got closer, we got warmer, and the drizzle eased up, so we headed off to the start line. The person before me didn’t show up, so I tried to talk the timers into letting me start early and pretending that I didn’t get the extra 30 seconds. I tried telling them that I could really use those seconds and if they gave them to me I promised I’d come to the next race in better shape… no avail.

They laughed – all except that one guy who thinks you might be serious despite the fact that you are clearly cracking yourself up (if no one else!) and gives you that stern look…..and you kind of want to smack him upside the head….but I digress.

Once out there, I found that the sand that had washed into the road was a much bigger problem than any slick corners (corners, as it turned out, were just fine). I could hear the sand in my gears every time I shifted and tried to stop thinking about the hours I’d spent cleaning my bike the day before! And, for Fiesta Island, which is one of those places that sometimes manages to have a headwind in all directions, the winds were pretty calm on most of the loop.

I passed a couple of women and a few geezers, got passed by plenty of boys and made my way around the loop a couple more times. I’d say my biggest problem on the day was my lack of concentration: spent some time thinking about a paper I need to write, followed by “Kathleen, pay attention!,” then some thinking about the donuts that were waiting at the end, followed by “Kathleen, would you f*&$ing concentrate,” then some time wondering if I’d actually get in some extra miles after this race despite being covered in sandy mud or if I’d pursue another favorite activity (drinking coffee and reading the New York Times), followed by “crap, I forgot to pay attention again.” You get the idea (for evidence, there is a photo of me smiling on the course – there is no way that I’d be smiling during a TT unless I was thinking about donuts!).

So, goal for next race in this series: focus. Other than the lack of concentration (or, more likely, because of it), I had fun out there. And now I am motivated to do the next one and do better. Julia and I had been bantering all week about taking this race as one to “establish our baselines” (entertaining ourselves with all kinds of ways to translate that phrase)…..and I think I covered that.
I also established my flair baseline (I had none) and will have lots of room to improve for next time!

Bellas made a great showing: Julia got first in the 20-29 women and Raja got first in the 30-39 women (despite starting 2 minutes late!). And, I got to meet Whitney who I believe was the first San Diego Bella, so that was cool too. All in all, a fun morning and a good start to the series.

More Fiesta TT pics here

February 11, 2007

CCCX MTB #1, Fort Ord, CA
5th, Daphne Hodgson, Begining Women
1st, Sue Lovecchio, Sport Women 35+
2nd, Laura Sanchez, Sport Women 35+
9th, Katrina Loera, Sport Single Speed

Cherry Pie Criterium, CA
20th, Mary Maroon, Women

Georgia Bella Information

February 10, 2007

Welcome to the Georgia Bellas!

The Georgia Velo Bellas started out as an Atlanta-based track squad but has now spread to most of North Georgia, Western North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. Our members are active in recreational group riding (such as coffee and social rides), triathlons, road racing, mountain bike riding and racing, track and cyclocross!

Tennessee Bella Information

February 10, 2007

Welcome to the Tennessee Bellas!

Tennessee Velo Bella-KONA is the newest state chapter addition to the “Southern Bellas.” Started in December of 2005, VB Tennessee now boasts riders and racers of all ages and walks of life – from college students to grandmothers, beginner riders to Velo Bella Pro team members! (Go Natasha!)
We compete in road, mountain, cyclocross, triathlon, and even Ironman events! Our 2006 team included Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA) State Champion jersey winners in the Sport 20-29 and 30+ age groups, as well as a 2nd place TBRA and 2nd place Southeastern Regional Championships (SERC) winner in the Expert category.
VB Tennessee hopes that the 2007 season will be bigger and better than ever. We are also planning other events to make a bigger presence in women’s cycling in Tennessee and the Southeastern region.

Still not convinced we are the most exciting thing to happen to women’s cycling in Tennessee?
Here’s our Top Ten Reasons to join Velo Bella TN!
1. You can talk to other women about saddle sores (and other unknown rashes) and get REAL information without anyone laughing (because we ALL know that it’s just not that funny!).
2. No one will laugh at you if you don’t know how to: change a tire, inflate your tire, remove your front wheel.
3. You want another acceptable excuse to wear pink and purple – just like the 80’s.
4. You want a chance to have a cocktail at a team meeting… where else can you do that?
5. Your team mates will share their shorts with you when you arrive at your first race “bottomless.” (Angie V.!)
6. Your team mates will stick with you during your first race even if it does mean the very back of the pack. (Molly G.!)
7. You don’t want a “hammerfest” EVERY time you ride….
8. …because sometimes it’s not how fast you ride but how good you look doing it…and THEN dusting the competition.
9. You always wanted to be in a sorority… except this one does not involve hazing… much.
10. You don’t always want to ride with a bunch of guys who shave their legs better than you do.

Local ContactWant to know more about the Tennessee Chapter of Velo Bella? Send us an or

Tennessee Velo Bella-KONA 2007 Events :: Watch for updates here!

Mouse Tail Challenge MTB Race :: April 22 We’re co-sponsoring this race with the Jackson Spokes bike club!

:: How to Join Velo Bella Tennessee ::

(1) Visit and click “join this group!”
(2) After you’ve been accepted, you’ll find, in the files section, the Velo Bella Waiver form.
(3) Fill out the waiver, and return to Molly Graves.
(4) Purchase your jersey at

February 10, 2007

Bay Front Criterium, CA
8th, Mary Maroon, Women Pro/1/2/3
22nd, Ryan Hostetter, Women Pro/1/2/3
2nd, Ryan Hostetter, Women 3/4
5th, Katie Norton, Women 3/4
11th, Sabine Dukes, Women 3/4

Dee Dee Does Worlds!

February 9, 2007

Final Race Report from Belgium

The last week I was in Belgium I got some good mud racing tips from Eric Tonkin and Rhonda Mazza. They were even so kind as to take me out on a training ride… in the mud. I had a blast. I was like a pig in poop. I felt relaxed and more confident and was making it through sections I would never have previously been able to handle. Woohoo!

So Thursday and Friday we pre-rode the course. It was a very different ride b/t the two days and I was thinking it was only going to get worse. The course started on a long straight stretch, took a 90-degree left turn and then another 90 degree left turn into a very muddy section. This proved to be a huge downfall on Sunday after the gun went off. I thought I had a pretty good start and then a few women went down in front of me in this section. I stayed on my bike, and then a few more went down, this time I had to get off. I was running my bike through the mud at this point seeing the front ladies disappear to never again have even a glimpse of them. Once through the muddy section you enter onto the grassy soccer field area, go around the pit, out the other side and head uphill to the first of 3 descents. These were much sketchier the previous 2 days than they were this a.m.

The course had been somewhat groomed with some sand put down here and there. Once down the first descent there was a long straight stretch, a hairpin turn to the right, up some stairs, down the second (the worst of the 3 descents), down around, up some more stairs and down the third descent. There was a long stretch that became somewhat muddy and proved to be the most challenging part of the course, power wise, anyway. (It was here that on my last lap through I heard the announcer saying Katie Compton is in 2nd place. I was ecstatic! I even gave a little cheer and continued my race.) I was climbing through this section in my easiest gear feeling like the pedals weren’t even turning.

There was another hairpin turn, down the slightly slick descent, around the tree and back up. I had to dismount this area and run my bike which proved for me to be faster and keep my heart rate a little lower than trying to ride it, up the ramp and down the other side. I was back on my bike. I hit the sand and found a clean path on the right hand side with a fresh tire rut. I hopped off, put my wheel in it and started running. I was so very close to the edge that I was almost running into the fans. Those that were hanging over had to scoot back a bit when I came through.

I was back on the bike after the sand and another deep rutted mud pit was straight ahead. I had seen people go down in this time and time again. I told myself, keep your head up, feet pedaling, never stop pedaling, look straight ahead, never down. Every time that I did this I made it through the mud without bobbling. I have to admit that I was not going at a rocket’s pace but it kept me upright. Baby steps right?

I always knew I needed the practice and this was great practice. I only wish I had had some earlier in the season. Up the hill, down the other side, around the corner, one more set of stairs, back on the bike, down the ramp and just a short muddy section until the start finish stretch. The previous week I had much trouble staying upright on my bike through the deep rutted sections of the course. Today, not so much. I kept my pace even and my head up. I had some improvements in these areas but my finish was still below par. But… I did the very best that I could. In all that I do, I have to practice, practice, practice before I get good at it. This was something that I hadn’t really done much of but actually look forward to doing in the future b/c of what I now know. I am not sure that I will ever be super talented at riding and cornering in the mud but I am certainly willing to give it the ol’ college try.

All in all, my experience in Belgium was fantastic. The training rides, hanging out with the other athletes and getting to know some of the locals made quite an impression on me. Having 3 silver medals from Danny Summerhill, Katie Compton and Jonathan Page was a great statement for American cycling. Both Rhonda and Kerry had impressive rides as well and all I could think was if Ann and Georgia had come to Worlds we would have had 5 women in the top 15. WOW! But… I was excited to be here and very grateful that I got the chance to experience cycling at this level. I was certainly happy to be home but I do miss hanging out with some of the people who had become friends in such a short period of time.

What’s next? For now, some time off of the bike. For later? Well, I am not really sure.

Thanks so much for everyone’s support and words of encouragement. It was truly a special occasion!

Dee Dee

Boulevard and the Winds from Hell

February 8, 2007

By Raja



Bittie, nippily, dark winds from somewhere other than San Diego. We don’t do cold. We don’t do wind. Well unless of course you tell us we’re racing and then you’re talking bid-ness.

Headwinds, ok. Crosswinds, ok. But head-cross-flip-cross-headwinds?!? If the mens Pro field wasn’t so beautifully decked in spandex.. I might not have been smiling so much. Gotta love men in tights. This is a notoriously nasty early season road race. This year, the hills were easy compared to the wind. Especially if you were caught by yourself. With just under 4000′ of climbing… the chances of being caught by yourself or with a small group were high since the climbing tends to string out the field. But we had such a lovely bunch of Bellas, and so pretty!!!

The cast:
Julia “Uhlie la la” Uhlendorf
Rhonda “Rrrrrrrr” Geisler
“Happy Happy Joy” Joy Muehlenbein
Shannon “I’m Game” Werner
Julie “Goodie Got it” Goodwin
Raja “La-Hottie” Lahti

I have to say, these women ROCK. Rhonda and I had done the race last year, but for everyone else, this was their first road race. The night prior we all got together for some spaghetti dinner at Efrat Veidman’s place for some confidence building and road racing chat. We’re going to miss Efrat, she’s moving back to Israel in 2 weeks. She’s been an amazing cycling resource for us San Diego Bellas. I am a sad bella…. :-(

Registration/Check-In was a mess and by the time I got out of there I had just enough time to gather my flair and start stripping. Warming up on the trainers was going to take too long to set up, so we all hopped on and started riding in circles for a brief warm up. The race started and by mile 2 we were careening down the road at 30-40 mph. Holy-frijoles Batman!! I have wings! Juls (Uhlie) was perfectly placed up in the front of the peloton. Her technical skills and descending abilities are wicked and she worked her way up to perfection. 11 miles in, the fun’s over and the hills start. I felt surprisingly good and was able to stay with the lead group when the pack split. At mile 19 the front pack split again and a group of women were able to rip our legs off and separate off the front. By this time I’m cursing myself and just trying to stay out of the wind. Gotta love those race wheels… freakin’ kites! (They did however save my little rear on the wicked decent)

At the top of the final climb I hear from behind “Lets organize ladies!”. Always nice to hear. We immediately grouped with as many we could find and rotated ourselves all over the next 13 miles or so to the start of the climbing on the 2nd loop. By now we had picked up some women left behind by our lead ladies. Our mini-peloton was looking good at about 8+ riders. We were descending as fast as our little 11 cogs could take us. My speedometer said 42mph. Once again when the climbing started the group fractured and 5 of us we left. On the second climb I looked behind and was surprised to see there were only 3 of us left. The wind was whipping around from all directions with gusts to 20-30 mph. The three of us worked together and rotated our way up the hill. With about 100 meters to go, I was at my turn in front and decided to test the 2 ladies I was with.

If I picked it up, would they stay with me? So I went. I had no explosive energy left so I figured if I was going to beat these women, I’d better out climb them. With everything I had left I finished the race in 16th place. I was stoked, last year I was 26th in perfect weather. This year I felt I had improved a ton and my strength was greatly improved from last year. I finally felt like I rode a smart, strong ride.

Juls and Rhonda were not too far behind and both looked and if their eyes were lasers… well, I’d have been toast! “That wind is f***** up!”. Yup. Juls, you too said it girl. Not 30 seconds later.. “Wow, that was fun!” Joy came running up in her running shoes. Mechanical problems sidelined her to 1 lap where she just gathered the running shoes and ran to the finish. Behind Rhonda came Shannon & Julie, both finishing their first road race in tough conditions.

It was soooo great to have the Bellas there. Last year I was a lone bella. This year everyone had a great time, everyone rode safe, and most of the bellas (other than Rhonda & myself) were virgin road racers. Whitney, the UCSB rider who finished behind me, and some other women immediately started asking about Velo Bella-Kona. It’s great to share the energy and to see that the people around us can tell – we’re having fun!.


Happy Riding!!

So Cal Racing Action Here

Skiier News

February 8, 2007

Velo Bella Maria Stewart is a skiier in the winters… and she rocks just as much on snow as she does on two wheels (and of course in real life… )

She took home some prize money for the Saturday night sprints and podiumed the 25K Classic ski event.

Go Maria!

(and that’s all the details I know… was kinda waiting for a race report and THAT’s why this is late.)

it is -that- damned cold

February 5, 2007

Towards the end of the race, as we were riding back to downtown in a wicked headwind, my bottom bracket start schooching out of my bike frame. I’m like wtf?, but elect to deal with it later, enjoy the after party, and bus home since I’m not used to riding drunk.

Discovered after the Triple Rock (for you berkeley people, this is NOTHING like the triple rock there) brunch, that my bottom bracket and bike frame have compatible threading. It easily screwed back in, and tightend down pretty well. Odd. the only thing I can think of is: bike frame is older.. mid-80’s maybe. Bottom bracket is brand new. Different materials, possibly, which leads to different rates of contraction due to the cold. No clue. but it’s fixed now.

saturday fun times

February 4, 2007

First the day started with me teaching a spinning class. Always fun. always surreal.

Then I drove over to Now bikes– Snelling for the Castelli trunk show. Fabulous deals and steals for us… market research for them. We even got a sneak peak at the 2007 women’s gear. There was definitely some interesting and styling stuff in the 2007 line. I was by FAR the most excited by the zippers. But, being that I still dress like a 16 year old skater boy and am not shaped like a women’s size (but who is really?) someone else (*cough* sheryl, barb, JenG, Kristy, bueller, bueller?) who is less butch than me should blog about it.

But yeah… their stuff is cool. I’m a girl that shops by function/economics, and -then- by fashion.

Picked up a rad orange windproof and water resistant Castelli outer shell that RULED Damn, that thing is warm. I race-tested both the jacket and the giordana lobster gloves at Stupor Bowl a couple hours later. The gloves kept my fingers toasty all race. The jacket allowed me to shed one of my upper body layers. awesome.

So, how does a cold weather wuss dress for this wicked cold ass stuff?
starting at the top.

my head

fleecy hat
snowboarding goggles

my abdomen

tank top
warm-ish pearl izumi short sleeve jersey
rei fleecy jacket (actually made it too warm and added too much bulk. this was removed before the race)
Castelli jacket
Snowboarding jacket
chrome bag with change of clothes and race schwag

bottoms and feet

bike shorts
regular clothing tights
furry on the inside bike tights
craft base layer
khaki pants
aireator socks
smart wool socks (removed to make room to kick ass heat pads)
skate-shoe like bike shoes

The race rawked. Heard today at brunch something like 273 people registered.

I made it to 8 out of… uhh…. 20? stops. 9 if you could standing behind the new guthrie on the river waiting for the start. Being that my goal was 3 stops minimum and 5 maximum. That ruled. I even stayed warmer than I thought I would. Victory is mine. muah. Couldn’t have done it alone…

I gotta thank bridget, liz, and danielle for lotsa fun and encouragement. We even made it to the Sunrise, which was by far the stop furtherest south, and even rode back it. Never believe anyone when they say “oh. yeah. sure… we’ll just light rail it back in.”

Yay to people at palmers with friendly dogs, the nomad and their bananas and sport jelly bellies. The scallywag clubhouse had free coffee, soup, and cookies.. The sunrise had a live cover band, free ice-daquari’s at someone’s house, no idea what all was at joe’s garage, though I know we went, good people at Mackenzie’s, and tasty free food at Foundation.

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