April 13, 2007

Sea Otter Classic, Laguna Seca, CA

April 12-15, 2007


MTB Super D
1st, Renee Ridgley, Women 19-29
2nd, Daphne Hodgson, Women 50+
13th, Alex Fabbro, Pro Women


MTB Time Trial
25th, Kristen Danielson, Pro Women
20th, Shannon Gibson, Pro Women
36th, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women

Road Circuit Race
22nd, Kim White, Women 3
5th, Eliece Horton, Women 30+
2nd, Liz Benishin, Women 40+
5th, Marian Hunting, Women 4
23rd, Amy Fischer, Women 4
31st, Denise Ramirez, Women 4
37th, Angela Aldrich, Women 4
Finisher, Deb Sell, Women 4


MTB Cross Country (XC)
16th, Mary Perez, Beginner Women 30-34
2nd, Shelly Whisenhart & Co., Tandem

MTB Short Track
24th, Kristin Danielson, Pro Women
33rd, Jennifer Tilley, Pro Women
35th, Shannon Gibson, Pro Women
2nd, Rene Ridgley, Open Women
5th Place, Kathleen Bortolussi, Open Women
10th Place, Julie Porter, Open Women

Road Race
3rd, Marian Hunting, Women 4
1st, Monica Neilson, Women 40+
2nd, Liz Benishin, Women 40+


MTB Cross Country (XC)
4th, Alex Fabbro, Pro/Expert Women Single Speed
4th, Ryan Hostetter, Expert Women 19-39
6th, Rene Ridgley, Expert Women 19-39
4th, Kathleen Bortolussi, Expert Women 40-49
6th, Julie Porter, Expert Women 40-49
9th, Sabine Dukes, Expert Women 40-49
20th, Marian Hunting, Sport Women 25-29
9th, Esther Kim, Sport Women 30-34
12th, Meredith Obendorfer, Sport Women 30-34
15th, Katrina Loera, Sport Women 40-49
20th, Elizabeth Cantu, Sport Women 40-49
33rd, Yvette Crockell, Sport Women 40-49
4th, Daphne Hodgson, Sport Women 50+
15th, Kristin Danielson, Pro Women
27th, Barb Howe, Pro Women
32nd, Natasha Cowie, Pro Women
44th, Jen Tilly, Pro Women
45th, Shannon Holden, Pro Women
39th, Erika Krumpleman

MTB Downhill
25th, Allie Burch, Pro Women

Whatchya doing this weekend?

April 12, 2007

We’re doing this:

Super D

Pro: 04/12/07 1:00p.m. – 3:00p.m.
Alex Fabbro

Open Women: 04/12/07 1:00p.m. – 3:00p.m.
Elizabeth Cantu
Daphne Hodgson
Rene Ridgely

Time Trial

Pro: 04/14/07 8:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.
Shannon Gibson
Jen Tilley
Natasha Cowie
Kristin Danielson

Short Track

Pro: 04/14/07 1:15p.m.
Shannon Gibson
Jen Tilley
Barb Howe
Natasha Cowie
Kristin Danielson

Open Women: 04/13/07 1:15p.m.
Kathleen Bortolussi
Julie Porter

Cross Country

Pro: 04/15/07 12:25p.m.
Shannon Gibson
Erika Krumpelman
Jen Tilley
Barb Howe
Natasha Cowie
Shannon Holden
Kristin Danielson

Expert 19-39: 04/15/07 8:06a.m.
Renee Ridgley
Ryan Hostetter
Jen See

Expert 40-49: 04/15/07 8:08a.m.
Sabine Dukes
Kathleen Bortolussi
Julie Porter
Elizabeth Caraker
Bonnie Darrah

Sport 25-29: 04/15/07 8:46a.m.
Marian Hunting

Sport 30-34: 04/15/07 8:48a.m.
Esther Kim
Meredith Obendorfer

Sport 40-49: 04/15/07 8:48a.m.
Yvette Cockrell
Katrina Loera

Beginner 30-34: 04/14/07 8:06a.m.
Maria Perez

Beginner 50+: 04/17/07 8:10am
Daphne Hodgson

Expert SS: 04/15/07 8:02 a.m.
Alex Fabbro

Dual Slalom

Pro: Finals 04/14/07 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Allie Burch

Open Women 19-29: Finals 04/13/07 9:00am – 12:00pm
Rene Ridgley


Pro: Finals 04/15/07 10:00am – 12:00pm
Allie Burch

Road Race

Women 3: 04/14/07 12:40pm
Kim White

Women 4: 04/14/07 12:45pm
Marian Hunting
Amy Fischer
Ashley Erickson
Angela Aldrich
Kathie Reid
Soni Andreini-Poulson

Women 40+: 04/14/07 12:35pm
Monica Neilson
Liz Benishin

Circuit Race

NRC Cat 1/2: 04/14/07 10:00am
Stella Carey
Mary Maroon

Women 3: 04/13/07 12:14pm
Kim White
Heidi Horton

Women 4: 04/13/07 3:37pm
Marian Hunting
Amy Fischer
Angela Aldrich
Kathie Reid
Denise Ramirez

Women 40+: 04/13/07 12:14pm
Liz Beneshin


April 9, 2007

by Marian

All the boys at the shop had been telling me for days how absolutely maximum extreme Copperwhopyerarse is. I got excited instead of scared after listening to the elaborate Copperwhopyerarse stories of “uphill, in the snow, both ways, we had to rub sticks together to make fire, I saw my life flash before my very eyes.”

So I’m excited about the race. And I’m excited because it was going to be the first time I raced with my rockin’ teammate, Amy.

Our race wasn’t until 11:20 so we had a reasonable, downright civilized departure time of 8 am. I rolled up to Amy’s house at about 7:40 and Amy, pro that she is, is already loaded and ready. Chad, Amy’s husband, tells us that the course is hard enough and that we should just “let the course do the work for you. Don’t feel like you have to work to get the pack settled because the course is tough enough.”

So, off Amy and I went, with a quickie stop at Peets. Mmm, coffee, how I love you. Quickie stop about 45 minutes from the course to get gas and I, amped on the large Peets coffee and not one who understands the concept of moderation, stupidly purchased a Red Bull. And not the standard issue 8 oz Red Bull, but the Big Girl 12 oz can of Red Bull. For after the race I tell myself.

Get to the racecourse and it’s the standard registration, “Oh, hey, good to see you, how you doing”, (Amy knows everyone!) and the port-o-pots.

Amy and I head back to the car and I hear the Red Bull calling me. I couldn’t hear the voice of reason over the pounding of my heart, so as we’re changing into our spandex superhero suits, I polish it off. I rationalize it by telling myself that “It’s got about 300 calories and it’s liquid, so I’ll be able to absorb it easily before the race.”

Pro Tip from Amy: Pin your number on your jersey before you put it on to ensure full three pocket access. It’s really a good tip, however, I found that pinning my number was a bit more technically challenging because by this time I was all hopped up on caffeine.

Not enough warmup for either Amy or I.

To the line. 16 Cat 4 women in our race. 3 Velo Bellas. Soni, Amy, and myself. A couple women from Nor Cal, Deb from Left Coast, and some other people in spandex on bikes with two wheels. It was kind of a blur.

Off we roll. Soni, Amy, and I had staked out spots on the line and so we were all able to hold great positions for the first part of the race, although I think I let myself get pushed off of people’s wheels a little to easily. I still don’t fully understand the finer points of cromulent pack etiquette. Oh well. It’ll come.

First couple of miles: choppy, choppy, choppy pavement, which I’m totally fine with, I’m not afraid, but I’m not so happy riding up in a group on crappy roads.

First lap, we kind of grind up the the alternatively textured hill, but because we’re at an uphill tilt, it’s not so bad. It’s decently long climb and the pack is grim, concentrated, and focused. No small talk about who you are, where you’re from, how was your drive, isn’t this nice weather, man the wildflowers are going crazy, eh? Just grinding, grinding, grinding uphill, uphill, uphill.

We get closer to the top, where it flatted out and you can pick up a little speed before the last kicker, and one of the Nor Cali girls tells the other women at the front “Alright! Let’s whip it up and string the pack out. Let’s go!”

When I heard this I just couldn’t help but ask myself:

Why? I mean, we hadn’t even done the first lap. Jiminy juice boxes, we hadn’t even done 10 miles! Why, why do you want to string the pack out? Why do you want to “whip it up”? What is so bad about enjoying the first lap as a pack, with a group of 16 women? I mean, I hardly ever get to enjoy a nice ride with 16 people, let alone a nice ride with 16 women. That just doesn’t happen. Can’t we all play nice for the first lap and enjoy this as a group?
But noooo.

The Nor Cali girls want to “whip it up!” and so, because I’m not going to get strung off the back so easy-like, and because I’m fully-caffeinated and wearing my smarty-pants, I throw out some Devo. You know, “Whip it. Into shape. Shape it up. Get it straight. Try to detect it. It’s not to late.” But, thankfully, I’m not the only one who’s not fully on the over-eager style “Let’s whip it up! Let’s string the pack out!” page, so a couple other people join in.

And, I’ll admit right here and now that I was a total bitch. Why? I didn’t want to string the pack out. What’s in it for me to string the pack out this early? Nothing! So I would ride up to the front (deliberately!) of the group and then downshift, sit up, and soft pedal. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do, but I’m sorry I just did not see why it was necessary to break the pack up in the first 10 miles. Especially when I’ve got some teammates I would like to see come with me. And besides, it’s to early in the race to be working that hard.

We reach the top of the first climb, and when I look around I see that Soni is still with us.
But when I look back, I don’t see Amy.
No, no, no, no, no!
This is not at all what I had planned, this is not at all part of my scheming. I’m kind of worried because Amy’s not one to get dropped easily so I wonder if something bad happened. (I find out later that yes, Amy was struggling with some asthma issues. Ugh. Total bummer.) But Soni was still with us (about 8 of us I think?), so I had a familiar, friendly face and was content.

Through the “flats” which weren’t so flat and were actually awfully windy we tried to paceline it. Key word “tried.” The ringleader suggested that we have a rotating paceline and pull off to the right. No, the other right. Wait, what are we doing? Which side are we pulling off to? Are we pulling through or dropping back? I am so confused. Good thing Soni was there because she had it all dialed and all I had to do was copy her. Yay!

Blah, blah, blah. Then there were 6 and when we turned into the wind, we lost Soni. Nooooooo! No, no, no, no! Why did we want to string the pack out? What was the point of this?

And then there were 5. Another climb, which wasn’t that bad, and then that rattly downhill.

Now I think I’ve made some considerable gains in my descending skills, but it was noticeable that those Nor Cali women gapped me on that descent. Note to self.

Neutral feed and I bobble my first bottle, and yes there’s a reason I ride bikes but maybe I should spend some time practicing that because that was positively heartbreaking dropping that bottle. Heartbreaking.

Thankfully, 50 feet up the road there was another feeder, which I didn’t bobble, but the lid was screwed on all cattywompus style (yes, you can cross-thread a water bottle!) and so every time I took some water, only half would end up in me and the other half of it would end up spilling all over me. Grrr.

But, Hernandohoot’s out, cheering for the ladies, and shouting out encouragement, like the color black, is always in style.

We climb. We paceline, or rather everyone else pacelines and I try to fake it as best I can. Blah, blah, blah. Finally, we roll into sighting of the last hill and our pacelining efforts are breaking up. No sense in pacelining up the hill, so we spread over the road. I climb and I look left and I look right. Wait, that’s funny. Where did you all go? I wasn’t trying to attack so why are you all back there?

So I shout out to the ladies, because maybe it’s still a little early to go off and play by myself and I hadn’t gapped them that much, “Hey, c’mon, let’s go ladies!” But, no response from the ladies. In fact they get smaller. What’s up with that?

I had to make a choice. Those Nor Cali women put time into me on the downhill. I had about 4 or 5 more miles of racing. I can sit up and wait for the four ladies back there or I can put my head down and go for it.

Alright, head down, time to get rolling. I look back and am thrilled (and shocked) at how much time I was able to put into them. Oh, but it hurts. The hill flattens and I big ring it. Oh, I am ready to rock! More climbing. Ok, this whole climbing thing is really getting on my nerves now.

Finally, the top and it’s time to rail it on the descent. I’ve got the mental image of the Nor Cali women dropping me on the descent so I’m gunning it. Zen, I am one with my bike. I am one with the road. I am a descending genius.

Until I look back and lo and behold, one of the Nor Cali women is back there in the rearview. How? I had dropped you like a stone on that climb! I didn’t even see you when I looked back at the top of the hill! How have you caught up to me? I’m not a crappy downhiller either. How do you do that? What is your downhill secret? Dah!

She catches me. As she rolls along side me at 35 mph+, she shouts “Work together?” And of course I respond with”Yes! Lets!”

Newsflash: In order to work together you actually have to be together. In about a minute she’s waaay up the road from me, so working together becomes, well, a dream. How? How did she do that? I was barely even working the brakes! How?

Alright. Fine. We’ve still got some flats and some rollers, I’ll just minimize the damage on the rest of this descent. Ok, here are the flats and I start working back up to her, but man, total rockstar that she was, she got herself waaaaay up the road from me. How? How? What is your secret oh Nor Cali Zen Mistress of the Downhill?

A little climb before the last 1K. I get serious about reeling her in but she’s still a ways up the road from me. But she’s getting closer. “Ok, I guess I need to stop messing around and get this done.” She gets closer, I’m reeling her in, I’m going to make it happen, and I can taste the finish. Or maybe it’s the Red Bull and the powerbar that I’m tasting.

200meters to go. It’s uphill, but I’ve got my diesel engine getting fired up, so as we kick it up the hill, I’m able to pass her with some time to spare, still accelerating and people hollering on the sideline “You’ve got her, you’ve got her, you’ve got her!” and I look back and yes, I do have her, thank you. (After the race I find out that that was her husband yelling to her not to me. Ah, well, it was pretty exciting and I’m easily confused when I’m red-lining it.)

Across the line, I glance back and she’s just finishing and I was a little shocked. “Is that it? Wait, did I really just finish the race? First? What? Are you sure there hasn’t been some mix up with the numbers?”

And so there you have it.
Soni finished in the top ten. Yay!
Amy had some asthma problems (total bummer!) on the first climb and spent the race working with some of the other women she was able to find. She said that a couple of the women that she worked with dropped out after the first lap, which was probably not easy to take.

Early Season Riding?

April 9, 2007

This, the second week in April, finds upstate NY in a cold snap once again. Only the really intrepid have been riding, as the intense winds, temps in the 20s and spotty snowstorms with icy flakes driving horizontally into one’s face, it’s just not really motivating…The local xc skiing is non-existant, however, an hour north of Syracuse is the land of never ending snow. There we’ve enjoyed even as late as this week absolutely fabulous skiing, which doesn’t exactly mimic the routine we need on the bike, but is still not too shabby for one’s cardio fitness.

Outside NY, some Nearly NY Bellas HAVE been brave enough to test their winter training: Ivy Luhrs a Maine Bella made the trek to Ninigret Park in Rhode Island for the Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium. She came in a respectable 12th place.

She writes:
There was supposed to be a separate Cat 4 race, which would have been more to my liking at this time of year… but because of the low turnout it was an “open event”. As you can see I was mired in a Team International Bike Sandwich. Was hard to try get away with so many women on one team working to cover any breakaways, on what was a cold, windy, and very tight course with lots of turns. With so many teammates on hand, Team International was trying to launch as many riders they could off the front, so there was one attack after another. All I could do was try to keep them in check without using too much of my own energy, was difficult task to say the least

I think I did a good job considering it’s only the second time I’ve ridden with ‘people’ this year, LOL! The regular weekly rides here in my area of Maine won’t start for another couple weeks, then I’ll really be able to get my legs fully back online. I’ve trained pretty much alone all winter. I feel I did my best, this being an open race and the first of my season… and there was at least four cat 2’s making this girl work very hard. I never wouldn’t have been able to hang with them last year, so I feel I’m finally improving.., yippee! So, here I go…my next race will be at the Turtle Pond Circuit Race in Loudon NH, on April 21st.

Good job, Ivy, looking forward to hearing about your next race and hopefully some of the NY Bellas will be closer to the competition than riding with fenders in the slushy, sandy, salty, rainy, …well, whatever.

Natasha Cowie trains with the Pro Bellas, Races NMBS #1 in Arizona

April 8, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Pro Southeastern Bella Natasha Cowie is one busy chick! Natasha just returned from training with the Bella Pro team and racing in the NMBS #1 in Arizona. Along with her awesomely dusty 7th place finish on March 31 in the Stage 2 race, Natasha had a blast experiencing life as a pro Bella. Below are some words from the report she posted on the Tennessee Bella Yahoo board.

“Training camp in Tucson was awesome,” Natasha beams in her report, “with TONS of wonderful food cooked by Alex’s mom Judy. It’s really the desert out there, with sand and cacti (we all ran into them…every single one of us was bloody at the end of every single ride). I got my bike on the first day and it is STUNNING. A Kona Kula Lisa in Velo Bella colors!!”

“I crashed pretty hard in the TT on Friday. The soil is so loose out
there, and I was coming down a washboarded hill and slid a little off
my line. I thought I’d just brush past a shrubby tree, but it was
more solid than I thought and I smacked into it and went flying
across the trail. Of COURSE my first thought was for the bike (skin
heals! bikes do not!)…but it’s fine, not a scratch. I was able to
finish and it gave me a good story. My teammates and Alex took care of me and stood by taking lots of pictures while I was in the first aid tent (quote from the EMT: “WOW!! Your knee looks JUST LIKE hamburger meat!!”). Anyway, it wasn’t a problem. I skipped the short track (really a fat tire crit) on Saturday night because I
didn’t want to risk bashing it again, and it was fine in the race

“I was thinking about the TN Bellas all week. It made me feel so good to know that I had a whole support crew back home sending me happy thoughts.”

“I had a GREAT time. I know it sounds corny, but this is a dream come true for me. The team is awesome. It felt like everyone instantly bonded.”

“I LOVE Velo Bella!! I am SO PROUD to be representing all of you on the pro team!”

And I’m sure the pro team is proud to have you, Natasha. You go girl!

or not social-able

April 7, 2007

there’s something about this cold that’s makes leaving hard. The time it takes me to get ready is directly proportional to the number of layers I have to put it. However, the time it takes does not grow like a steady slope… it’s more like an exponential curve. ie. it takes significantly longer to leave when I have to wear long underwear, winter jacket and fleece hat, than when I only have to wear pants and a shirt.

I did think about moving to warmer climates again, but… it’s kinda cold all over now. I came home from the clinic and noticed the US Open Cycling Championships in Richmond, VA was on NBC. Apparently it was 18 degrees at the start of the race. I grew up in Richmond… it rarely hits 18 degrees in the winter. ergh. Apparently nowhere is safe from this crappy spring cold snap.

But… all the info from various racing clinics this spring made the race way more fun to watch….

soft core derbying

April 7, 2007

Today, MWCMR held their bike racing clinic. In my caffeine-less haze, got there 1.5 hours late, I saw Bellas Grieber and Kate…. anyone else? After a couple hours of classroom time (complete with coffee and tasty scones!), we broke off into 3 groups and worked on some skillz. We worked on our pacelines over to the park, where we worked riding shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to hip, and rubbing tireds… then… we capped it off with a softcore derby (thanks, buzzard!).

What makes for a softcore derby? Well, there was no blood spilled. Hrm… I don’t know.. but… the derby involved a lot of women, on some very sexy bikes, riding around in a circle trying to knock each other out of circle or to the ground, or just make someone put their foot down.

Buzzard knocked me in the hip pretty good. GW Sara caused mayhem by randomly track standing in the middle of the circle. The sewer grate caught one rider’s wheel and took ’em out.. and I finally got out of there… because the circle got too damned small, I got too squirrely, and put my foot down to make s sharp turn… DOH!

Thanks to MWCMR for holding the clinic… and it rawked seeing so many people out despite the weather…

That’s about it… Gotta go be social-able now. And hit up the grocery store for my annual Cadbury creme egg.

April 7, 2007

Chris Hinds Memorial Criterium, RI
12th, Ivy Luhrs, Women

Copperopolis Road Race, CA
9th, Stella Carey, Women 1/2
13th, Tracie Nelson, Women 1/2
1st, Marian Hunting, Women 4
9th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 4
10th, Amy Fischer, Women 4
2nd, Monica Neilson, Women 30+
7th, Elizabeth Benishen, Women 30+
11th, Sabine Dukes, Women 30+

Let the Racing Begin

April 5, 2007

Its on…

April 4, 2007

Prairie City Race Series #6, CA
3rd, Julie Porter, Expert Women
13th, Yvette Crockell, Sport Women 35+

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