Trick or Treat!

October 31, 2007

Velo Bella Surf City Psycho-Cross
By Natasha Perry
Santa Cruz, California

Boo! Words don’t really do this race justice – it’s a lot more fun to just look at pictures. Really. You get to see cyclocross racers who might want to be cyclocross-dressers, or maybe a cowboy, french maid, sumo wrestler, hot short wearer, tigger… Just do me and yourself a favor and check out Sabine’s blog.

But now you are wondering about berries, beer, and Queen Ann. It can all be explained. I found a new job that I loved, which was doing the sponsorship stuff for the race. The sponsors were incredible!!! (see full list at end of report) As we live in the berry basket of the world, Cal Giant generously offered up FRESH strawberries that they picked just for the race. I thought maybe a few little boxes of berries, so I roll up to a huge warehouse in my little Honda and a forklift comes out with a PALLET of Sberries! They were sooo delicious.

And any decent CX race would not be complete without beer…so we got the best beer possible from New Belgium Brewing. I love this company! Not only do they make incredible beer, but they have a job description called the "Beer Diva". OMG – I have to admit to being jealous. But we did make’em race hard for that beer!

Queen Ann. You thought that I sort of forgot about the actual racing. Nopie-nope. An incredible course had been put together, complete with a soul-sucking run-up. But when you have Queen Ann on your side – the ghosts and goblins screaming in your head to stop crawl back to the woods and hide for fear of what she might do. Not to mention the scary cadre of Halloween characters yelling their encouragement! The women’s A line up was star studded and I clung to them for the first lap and half, but my eyes crossed, my stomach heaved, and the Queen and I settled in and came in 8th. The best part was seeing really, really strong turn-outs for the Women’s B and C groups. Woohoo!!! (If you haven’t met Queen Ann, she’s the Bella’s groovy Kona cross bike.)

Last but not least, our complete list of sponsors: The Spokesman Bicycles, Vanderkitten, De La Paz Coffee, Bicycle Trip, New Belgium Brewing, Sheila Moon, Gizdich Ranch, Clif Bar, DeFeet, Black Diamond, Cloud Nine, Timbuk2, California Giant, Fox Racing

Clicky for full results and oodles of Photos!


Happy Halloween!

Desert Double

October 30, 2007

Death Valley Double Century
By Katie Norton
Sacramento, California


But you, by the grace of an ordeal in the night
which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic,
you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself.
Great was this creature, and never shall you forget him.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "Wind, Sand, and Stars"


Double #13, 197 miles, 9000′ of Climbing, 13 hours and 20 minutes

1st Solo Woman Finisher! Woo-hoo!

Moon Units Excited to Start at Furnace Creek: Mile 0

The First Half: Mile 96
It was a very mild day in one of the hottest places on the planet. A lot of people started with arm warmers and it only reached the mid 70s. The overcast sky hid the famous stars of Death Valley that I have yet to see. I was feeling super until the D-train drilled it and left a whole pace-line crossed eyed and shattered in lawn chairs at the Nevada border. Luckily, I have a knack for recovering. We needed someone to set the pace.

Lunch was at Scotty’s Castle (Party Pad in the Middle O’ Nowhere): Mile 120
We passed a really fluffy coyote on the climb up to lunch. He wasn’t concerned about us at all. I had to tip-toe (you can do that on a bike, right?) around a tarantula in the road. I felt a lot better after a turkey sandwich.

Onto Ubehebe Crater (OOOBEHHEEE-BEE– Say it! It’s FUN)! Mile 130
It was a quick out and back with bad roads and a little climbing. You feel like you’re in a parallel universe. It looks like you are going downhill but you are going 8 miles per hour generating 250 watts. Trippy. It can really mess with your mind. I think our minds aren’t built to process the scale of a landscape like this. I felt like a little ant at the beach.

Down the Hill to Stove Pipe Wells: Mile 170
Finally some downhill after all the climbing. Thanks to Adventure Corps, the water bottles were always full and we had a nice little group. I was starting to get a little tired of the concentration required for drafting though.

Hell’s Gate: Mile 184
It was about dark when we hit the last climb of the day. 6.5 miles with a couple thousand feet of climbing. So dark and so quiet. I felt like I was going to have a seizure when a ride came up behind us with a flashing front light. I let him pass to get away from it. They should ban those things. It was peaceful after that. Nice pavement and not as freakin‘ scary as it sounds.

Finish Line: Mile 197
There was a big group cheering our arrival including a group of women who had ridden the century who wanted to talk to me. They asked me why I do these things. My answer was that it teaches you a lot about yourself and I’m a little nuts.

It was a long but beautiful trip home up Hwy. 395


I got to stop at one of my favorite places, The Whoa Nelly Deli at the mouth of Tioga Pass


How I Ran a Marathon With One Leg Tied Behind My Back

October 30, 2007

(or: Why pain is temporary, but Jenn’s stupidity is permanent)

Stories like these always start months and months before the event. I’m going to save you pain of all that and just summarize it all as: Run. run, complain, run, dog bite, healing, run, run, painful run, fast run, overconfidence, taper, pack, drive, sleep, meet parents, fight with parents, no sleep, get ready!

Sunday morning Cindy (my training buddy) and I were up and ready to go. After months of training we were ready, or not. Only one way to find out.

The nice thing about running is that there really only a few things you need to keep track of: pants, bra, shoes. That’s it. Everything else is fluff. Oh poop – I needed to find my fluff. I took my shower, got into my gear, put on my fluff and started eating my bagel. I didn’t even have to wear a helmet for this!

At 7:45 Cindy and I were taken to the start by our chauffeur Jim (Cindy’s husband). Bill and Cindy’s two daughters were left in charge of my parents. I hear they had a lovely breakfast. Meanwhile Cindy and I were making our way to the start in the chilly morning air.

The line for the portajohns was as long as always, but it was moving fast. After all the important preparations took place we found a spot in the sun to hang out and stretch until it was time to line up. We got to watch all of the other people doing their pre-race thing. Mostly we just chatted about this and that. And then we lined up. That’s when I started to realize "crap I have to run 26.2 miles to get back to here."

America the Beautiful was played (Falmouth is the home of the writer) and the cannon blew. The group slowly started shuffling forward, then walked, then jogged then I crossed the line and wheeeeee.

The drumming feet on the pavement. People chatting about their goals for the run. Dodging and weaving through the crowd. We made our way out of town. I was feeling pretty good. A decent pace, but nothing really fast. At the first mile mark I was at 8:30. The perfect pace, but a little ahead of my 4:00 goal so I slowed up just a bit and kept on trucking. I’ve been running around 8 minute miles for most of my runs and busted out a 1:30 12-miler a couple weeks ago, but wanted to run conservatively since I didn’t know the course and really just wanted to finish.

I started to warm up around mile 5 just as I was coming over the first bridge. I saw my dad standing on the side of the road, he didn’t see me, I started shouting "dad, over here" and half the crowd turned to look at me. I saw my mom a bit beyond him and Bill at the top of the bridge with the camera. I tried to smile – it came out poorly. And on we ran.

I turned the corner heading north for the long stretch up to North Falmouth and concentrated on keeping pace. I figured I’d be to the 10 mile mark in no time and would start to pick up the pace then if I was feeling good. it felt great. The temperature was perfect and the scenery was gorgeous. The plan was to take a swig of my gel and grab a water as I reached each of the water stops (each 2.5 miles). Every 5 mile starting with the 10 mile mark I would take an Advil to keep any swelling down and take the edge off the pain. I got to the 10 mile mark spang on 1:30 – exactly on my 4 hour target. It felt great! I popped my pill and settled in for the next 5 miles.

About 1.5 miles outside the 10 mile water stop I was heading up a hill and something popped in my knee. I felt an awful pinching pain and couldn’t put any weight on my leg. I was hopping along on my left leg trying to figure out what happened. That didn’t help, so I instead tried to put weight on the leg, That worked, but I couldn’t run. I walked up the hill as fast as I coule (damn slow). It started feeling better, so I tried running again. Nope. For the next few minutes I was walk, run, hopping. All of the Advils in my pocket went down the hatch. I thought about quitting for about 2 seconds and changed my mind. I figured I should go as fast as I could, no matter how slow that might be, at least until Cindy caught me. Some fellow asked if I was OK as he ran by. Of course I am, just a little setback. He nodded and moved on.

This crap continued for the next 8 miles. That first mile was bad. After that the joint go warned up again and I figured out what stride would work for me. I would speed walk up the hills if it started twinging and limp down the hills. I was OK on the flats. There weren’t much of those. People were passing me, but I’m pretty used to that ;-). I was mad. I was mad that I wasn’t working hard enough to sweat. I was mad that I wasn’t breathing hard. But I pressed on. After a mile or two I mentally shrugged and figured, same shit different day and started to enjoy myself again. Sometime around the 19 mile mark people stopped passing me with regularity. I had found the group that was running at my current pace. I started chatting with a woman who I was jockeying with for a bit. It helped take my mind off the pain.

Just before the 20 mile mark I saw a break in the trees that opened out to a gorgeous view of the ocean. I was getting close to the end. Just a short training run to the finish and a nice shower. People started talking about food as they passed me. The group was starting to get antsy for the finish not realizing the worst is just around the corner. I came into the 21 mile feed zone and saw Cindy’s girls and husband. They had been pressed into service as water buffaloes. Glenn, the youngest, looked up the road and started shouting "Hey, look, it’s Jenn". I came into that zone to the cheers of "Go Jenn" "Hey Jenn" "Lookin’ good Jenn". It was great. I slowed to grab my drink and Rae asked "How’s it feel". "Pretty bad Rae, I blew out my knee, but I’m almost done., so no worries". "Push hard Jenn" :-).

I had started to feel better and could run up and down hills at this point, so I was starting to push the pace. And by that I mean not going any slower. At 22.5 miles I was going up lighthouse hill, the last in the course. I powered up it to the cheers of the photographers. I started passing people. They were flagging and I had all sorts of energy left from the silliness in the middle of the race. I came around the top of that hill and the view of the ocean opened up ahead of me. I picked it up a little more and used the downhill.

Mile 24 is where it hit me. That mile post was in the middle of a long ,open stretch of beach. There was no shade. I could see people up ahead of me for at least a mile. There were no spectators to speak of because most people had gone to the finish to cheer people in. Those that were there has stopped cheering for people a hour ago. I was holding my pace but my brain was starting to say "stop you fool". That’s when I saw Beau. There was a fellow up ahead of me who took a step and collapsed to the pavement. He got up and tried again. His right knee kept giving out. I couldn’t watch it. I ran over to him to see if he was OK. He was fighting hard. I grabbed his arm to keep him from going down again and let him lean on me for a few steps. I said "stop running, try to walk first. It’s only 1.5 miles, keep moving forward. Only try to run if it will support your weight." He thanked me and started moving again. We wished each other luck and kept going.

Imagine forever. That’s how that last mile felt. I finally turned the corner back into town and still had .75 miles to go. I was getting antsy. When will it end? This is still not harder than a 300km. This is horrid. This is not worse than riding a 200km on the tandem in April when you’re out of shape. Stupid brain stop fighting and run!

And there I was at the 26 mile marker. 0.2 miles left. I was turning the corner onto the finishing straight and the people were cheering. OK there weren’t a lot, but still it was the Carrier Dome in my head. I sped up. I sped up more. I was sprinting. I could see the finish. Bill was taking my photo. They announced my name, I waved to the crowd (yeah I’m a total dork) and I slowed down because I felt bad passing the woman just ahead of me at the line. Its a race, but come on now! I crossed the line in 4:46. They draped me with my medal and my space blanket and I slowly limped out of the chute to say hi to Bill and my parents.

First aid for the knee was rendered in the form of ice pack and "walking it off". I went to the local school to get a commemorative shirt and some food. Cindy’s family found me and said she was out on the course and that she wasn’t last. After a bit I wandered back to the finish and started back tracking on the course. Soon we saw Cindy’s pink shorts coming around the corner about a half mile out of the finish. The girls were running with her. I hopped out in the road to wait for her. We all ran together around the corner and down the finishing straight. Cindy ran the last 50 feet alone to (very loud) cheers. She crossed the line under her goal in just under 5:59!

Now I’m trying to convince her to run the Flying Pig in May!!

October 28, 2007

Spirit of Surf City Psychocross, CA
3rd, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 35+
5th, Amy Abele, Women 35+
8th, Natasha Perry, Women A
9th, Heidi Kanayan, Women A
9th, Nicole Bumbaca, Women B
16th, Katrina Loera, Women B
17th, Marian Hunting, Women B
4th, Beth Welliver, Women C
9th, Rebecca Dyas, Women C
14th, Liz Mcafee, Women C

Derby City Cup #2–USGP #2, KY
12th, Barbara Howe, Elite Women
14th, Kathy Sherwin, Elite Women
20th, Melanie Swartz, Elite Women
27th, Anna Milkowski, Elite Women
11th, Lindsay Rockey, Women 3/4

Seattle Cyclocross Series #4–Steilacoom, WA
3rd, Kari Studley, Women 1/2

Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series #5–Fort Walla Walla, WA
4th, Erika Krumpelman, Women

DCCX Cyclocross, Washington DC
9th, Kimberlee Wendell, Women 3/4
10th, Nicole Shue, Women 3/4
11th, Marisa Peacock, Women 3/4

October 27, 2007

Derby City Cup, USGP #1, KY
12th, Barbara Howe, Elite Women
13th, Kathy Sherwin, Elite Women
25th, Melanie Swartz, Elite Women
27th, Anna Milkowski, Elite Women

Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series #4–Stanger Farm, WA
2nd, Erika Krumpelman, Women

October 27, 2007

Death Valley Double Century

1st Female Solo Finisher, Katie Norton

October 21, 2007

Bay Area Super Prestige #2–Candlestick Point, CA
9th, Natasha Perry, Women A
13th, Sabine Dukes, Women B
14th, Marian Hunting, Women B
17th, Amy Abele, Women B
19th, Katrina Loera, Women B
17th, Yvette Crockrell, Women C
1st, Andi Mackie, Women 35+ A
5th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 35+ A

Dam Cross, CA
2nd, Barbara Howe, Elite Women

Wissahickon Cross, PA
7th, Anna Milkowski, Elite Women
10th, Melanie Swartz, Elite Women

Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series #3–Farragut Park, ID
2nd, Erika Krumpelman, Women

Utah Cyclocross Series #5–Wheeler Farm, UT
1st, Kathy Sherwin, Women A

NY Bellas’ Katina maintains series lead!

October 20, 2007

CNY Bellas Katina and Sue A hurled themselves along the challenging ‘cross course at Liverpool’s Long Branch Park last weekend. Sporting the appropriate Bella flair (Katina has yet to add fluff to her seat tube – a must for the next race.) and sassy! attitude, our grrrrls represented us proudly.

The course was said to be a bit soft in some spots and the run-up quite the rascal of a climb, but both found themselves enjoying the twists and turns.
Sue displaying the patented "Jan-O Classic Leftie Push-and-Go technique"

Sue Post Race

Here’s Katrina’s winning style of remounting.

Katina 1st in Master Women, maintaining her 1st place standing in the CNY series.
Sue 6th in Open Women and coming in 7th in the series.

Just One of Those Days

October 14, 2007

Central California Cyclocross, Race 3
By Beth Welliver
Pacific Grove, California

Today was CCCX #3. The third local ‘cross race of the season; the third ‘cross race of my very short ‘cross career. Having won the first two races, I was excited at the possibility of winning another race. Of course, I hadn’t been on my mountain bike for a week and a half, but I did have a few road rides, so fitness should be okay…let’s go win us another race.

Perhaps I should have taken notice when, during my warm-up lap, I did a quick pull-over to the side of the trail to let some racers pass and a pesky little scrub oak lurking under the long grass jabbed into my leg hard enough to knock my foot out of the pedal. In hind-sight, this was a sign of the things to come.

The course was fast and relatively flat – no huge climbs (good for me) and no long descents (not good for me and my 30-lb mtn bike). At the starting line I noticed a few new faces in the C crowd…new, very fast-looking faces with very nice, very fast-looking ‘cross bikes. Perhaps another sign…

Whistle blows and we’re off. Up the little climb at the start, and I’m right at the front…until one of the very fast new faces rolls by and cuts in before the start of the single track – good move, I have a race on my hands…we get to the first set of barriers, and that’s when amateur day really got started. I was so excited/nervous/freaked out to be actually racing with someone that I totally botched the jump over the first barrier and slammed my bike into it. And with that, the race was over because very fast new face girl #1 was off.

But, I think to myself, there’s still another very fast-looking new girl behind you, so get on it. So the next 3 laps was a panicked ride complete with more bike-slamming barriers, horrible remounts, dragging (literally) my 30-lb mountain bike up a run-up, stupidly attacking on pavement even though I had knobby tires, and a near-fall on an off-camber turn.

The crowning moment of amateur day was on the 3rd lap – my final time up this relatively short, but slightly steep and very sandy hill that I had ridden every time in warm-up and the first 2 laps. Apparently I spaced out during the approach to this time and didn’t shift. So half-way up I got stuck and had to hop off…no big deal, I can run pretty fast.

I get to the top, a guy on the side says “nice grimace!” (lovely, b/c I know what that face looks like), and try to hop back on my bike…but for the 500th time during the race, my feet and my pedals were repelling each other like water and oil…and then the swearing started. Well, it was just one word in a very loud voice, and as I finally got back on my bike and pedaled away, I see the 12-year-old kid along the side of the course…oops. Oh well.

I managed to hang on for the final lap and hold onto second place. It turns out that very fast new girl #1 is an expert mountain biker and a speedy road racer, too, so I didn’t feel so bad about losing to her. Wish I could have kept it a little closer for a bit, but it was one of those days. Still holding on to first place in the series, so no damage done.

More photos, courtesy of Terry.

Full Results

October 14, 2007

Sacramento Cyclocross Series #2–Hagen Park, CA
12th, Marian Hunting, Women B
13th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women B
8th, Yvette Crockrell, Women C

Gran Prix of Gloucester-2, MA
2nd, Anna Milkowski, Elite Women
12th, Melanie Swartz, Elite Women
16th, Jennifer Tilley, Elite Women
20th, Stephanie White, Elite Women

Iron Cross V Race Weekend, PA

2nd, Alicia Styer, Junior U16
5th, Maria Stewart, Women A
7th, Marisa Peacock, Women B
8th, Hillary Styer, Women B

Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series #2–Valley Mission Park, WA
3rd, Erika Krumpelman, Women

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