Chasing Down the Beast

May 20, 2008 · Print This Article

By Erika Donald
Berkeley, California

Kern County Womens’ Stage Race

“Insanity has company, they are called teammates and they all show up to race Kern.

Lilly is so right.

i love my insane teammates. our 35+ group just keeps getting better and better. we will be back again next year. did i just write that? the other teams will see us and know they have their work cut out for themselves. if they were smart they would copy our style. they’d start getting sillier and insaner and funner and winninger — like us.

we slayed the kern beast…no, i don’t like that metaphor. bellas don’t kill animals. what do bellas do? we tame the beast. we make the beast purr and roll over and then we put pretty shiny flair around its furry neck and say, can i get you a beer?

but it takes a team to soften up the beast and we each played our part.

we all let the beast roar and howl at the TT — whatever beast. do your bad beasty thing. we’ll see you in a bit.

lilly faced down the beast at Walker Basin. she attacked and attacked. chased after time bonuses which would help her and take away from the other teams. the pack was closing in after lilly and i moved over to andrea to suggest she might get ready for a counter attack.

“Andrea,” I began…”
“Yup,” she said. and off she went.

oh we are so good.

and there was linda with the water bottle to cool riders down. getting up to the front on the hill sprint to help me get back on. shutting it down when we realized we weren’t all there. and then in the last lap linda, sabine, and Andrea moved up the side as we approached the 1K mark. the field strung out and we had it.

the hill climb was key. last year we didn’t know the course so we rode at the other teams’ pace. but this year we knew we had to go from the gun if we were going to make the time we were down from the TT.

and so sue and I went. we looked back and the beast was chasing. we rotated taking pulls. and soon the beast was nowhere in sight. silly beast you have to be fast to catch us.

and you’re so gonna look cute in flair.

on to Woody. we had a 34 second gap between first and 2nd. and a 1.43 (?) gap to third. our main objective was to hold the 34 seconds and secondarily to move Sue into second. the course this year suited us very well. since it started on the rollers followed by the steep downhill and then more flattish rollers. we kept watch on the Protech TT’ers and any moves by the Kalyra gals who had nothing to lose by going out and trying to get away on the descent and rollers — which they tried! But no luck. And having the teammies there calmed me immensely because i always fear that section as i’m no tt’er and if the other teams worked together they might just possibly get away taking Janet with them and our 34 second lead.

Purrrr…pretty, pretty beast, pretty baby.

Linda and Andrea patrolled the descent and then on the rollers Sabine and linda set pace in the wind going up the hills. Linda worked so hard. resting and recovering. And sabine gave 110 % coming back for more and more…and more. Sue and I sat in. We knew our part was coming. I kept seeing Maryanne and Janet whispering and it made me edgy. But then I would see Sue with her game face on and I felt better and I just had to remember how we’d drilled it on the hill climb. And i couldn’t help but notice that Janet was in a big, big gear and i wondered if she would be fresh for that steep finish.

and then linda and Andrea hit the rollers. Sue and I had discussed that we might go at this point and I really should have been ready for it, but when it happened it threw me into shock. I thought perhaps Linda and Andrea were going to be given a little freedom to fly, but Janet was going with everything. EVERYTHING. I waited for the initial acceleration to ease. but it kept going. Linda was like the energizer bunny. I wanted to shout “I’m getting dropped!” but of course I knew tactically this was like shoving raw meat under the beast.

so I did the only thing I could. “LINDA!” i shouted in that special loving married couple voice.

but then Andrea was going strong and Sue was jamming and Janet was covering EVERYTHING. aw jeeze.

And then we looked behind and Maryanne and the professor…i mean Sonia were coming up. Sue attacked. Janet covered. I attacked, Janet covered. So finally it was the five of us hitting the final hill. I marked Janet until the end though I was never certain if she was going to jump me create a gap and get the bonus finish points — and possibly the overall GC.

But it was not to be. we had the beast feeding out of our hands. it rolled on its back. Lilly removed its beast’s mask and we slung bella flair around its neck.

we will be back.

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