May 17, 2008

Lake Sunapee Bike Race, NH
15th, Ivy Luhrs, Women Pro/1/2/3

Track Cats

May 16, 2008

By Jamie France
Clemson, South Carolina

Ladies with team logos featuring cats took 3 of the top 5 places on Saturday, 10 May at the Dick Lane Velodrome! Is it a coincidence? I think not! I think it’s because cats rule the track! Meow!

1. Leigh Valletti — Vanderkitten

2. Olga weeks — Velo Bella

3. Lesli Meadows

4. Robin Pace

5. Jamie France — Velo Bella

There were five races and a field of 13 women. First we had Scratch Heats to qualify for a Handicap race later in the evening with the men. Olga was one of the four who qualified. That was followed by a 15-lap Snowball in which Olga got 3rd. Next was a 30-lap points race which didn’t go so well… in lap 5, a wreck took out 3 women. Luckily Olga and I were in front of the crash, so didn’t get tangled up in it. (It was a pretty bad wreck — an ambulance had to come for one woman who had a broken collarbone.) Instead of restarting the 30-lap, they had us do an Unknown Distance. Olga took 2nd and Jamie took 3rd in that. Last open women’s race was the Miss-n-Out; Olga again took 2nd and Jamie took 4th. In the Handicap, Olga picked up another 2nd.

Middle Mt. Momma, VA

May 14, 2008

Middle Mt. Momma, VA

1st, Johanna Kraus, Expert Women 19-29

Our new mascot

May 12, 2008

Hi, I just want to introduce myself. I’m Velobella, the mascot of the bella’s and I just love my pink fluff. I just love being part of this team. My favorite workouts are the sprints across the wooden floors in my mom’s house to attack the pink fluff on her bike. Yea, that’s my favorite. Sometimes I just like to lie around and chew on it. Pink fluff is cool.
Here’s my mom in Hollenbecks race.

May 11, 2008

Berkeley Hills Road Race, CA
14th, Elizabeth Benishin, Women 35+
14th, Thea Rusthoven, Women 4

May 11, 2008

Erik’s Spring Cup
Minnesota State Championship Series, MTB
Inver Grove Heights, MN
3rd, Manda Lo, Beginner Women 30-39
4th, Maria Stewart, Expert Women 19.35

May 11, 2008

EBC Criterium, CA
8th, Sarah Kerlin, Women Pro/1/2/3
26th, Andrea Monroe, Women Pro/1/2/3
9th, Soni Andreini Poulsen, Women 3
17th, Thea Rusthoven, Women 4
22nd, April Hamlin, Women 4

Sterling Classic Road Race, MA
17th, Ivy Luhrs, Women Pro/1/2/3

Track Karma

May 9, 2008

By Sabine
Corraleeetoes, California

I feel like its been forever since I blogged.

I mean really blogged. Not just dumping a picture and splashing a few words up to accompany it.

Its like my brain can only do either pictures or words, but not both.

But today I feel like blogging because I actually raced last night. I mean really raced. Where I tried and everything. And I haven’t done that in a while.

Us women folk got our own race last night (well a couple of guys and an awesome junior did join us too). I like when we get our own race. Not that I don’t like racing with the men and all, but damn if they don’t chase any little attack.

And I like to attack.

When I first started racing again this season (after zilcho training and nothing but easy rides for the past 5 months), I had about 3 minutes of fitness. One attack would spend me for the night.

Last night I was able to launch about 7-8 attacks and didn’t get spent until about the 7th one. Yay!

Erika and Linda were there again and I love racing with them. In the first race, Erika and I traded attacks. Erika ended up in the one that stuck. So with three up the road, there were only points for one in our chase group. Since I was not pulling, I decided not to sprint for them. Instead, I wanted to try and bridge up without pulling the pack.

I tried to get away a few times, but Ileana and a woman visiting from Ttown kept me on a short leash. Then I noticed that Erika’s break caught up to the pack (who were behind us). And I remember the quirky rules of points racing. Of all the things I have done at the track lately, remembering this in the midst of the frenzy of a race is one of the things I’m most proud of!

Now, our chase group was the lead pack and full points were on the line. So I went for them, but goddamn that Ileana has some top end acceleration and I got nipped. But I also noticed how tired she was after the effort.

Then somehow Erika’s group became the lead group again, except they were now four since a lapped rider joined them. That meant no points for us. (Is your mind whirring yet?) But my chase mates did not know that, so they sprinted and I rode their wheels. Then I did a most evil thing and attacked after they sprinted.

I tried like crazy to catch up to Erika’s group, but it just did not happen. I did stay away for the remainder of the race, but it didn’t earn me any points so I have no idea why I tried except that it felt kinda good.

Between races, Erika said “let’s do some team tactics this time”

Uh…I thought that was what we were doing. But she said she wanted to do something different. What she really wanted was to not be in the lead break. And I got to find out why in the second race. That shit is hard.

On the second lap of the next race, I took a little pull up front. I was just pulling along all innocent like, when I looked behind me and saw I had a gap. I was confused, but decided to just take it and I took off.

After a lap, I looked back and I had an even bigger gap. Well cool, and well, crap. Cool because thats racing and crap because thats hard. Larry and Holloway’s mom were telling me to keep going for it because bell lap was coming up. And, I had never ever won any bell lap in a points race yet. So I went for it and got my first 5 points. Yay for me.

Then Larry told me to keep going. So I did. Which was pretty much a silly thing as that put my laps alone out there at about 13 if you count the race prior.

Fortunately, Ali and Beth bridged up to me at some point. And I remember seeing Erika and Ileana there but I have no idea what happened to them. Maybe they were a mirage.

Unfortunately Ali and Beth had carpool bonding going on. The next few laps were spent getting worked over by the both of them. It was too much fun. Beth was doing tactical shit. I was so tired, but I had to laugh. And I was sort of flattered to because if you have to do tactical shit to me, then that means I am part of the race.

Kind of like how I liked it when the guys at hockey would check me.

So, Beth held me up while Ali attacked for a sprint lap. And then the two of us sprinted for the 2nd place points. I was totally wiped out before the sprint, but in all the times we have raced together, I have never been in a position to actually sprint against Beth, so I just had to go for it.

I think she was just teasing me though, because she did the most evil thing you can do in a points race, and attacked me after that sprint. Karma, on the track, is very quick.

Her and Ali rode off and lapped the field. Which of course made me leader on the road. I, thought that maybe the last sprint would be a brownie prime and I figured it was worth the 15 points to win some brownies. So I rode it in and scooped up my second ever points race lap win. But alas, no brownies!

Crap, I’m late for Wednesday night track….gotta run…

Mostly Downhill: Wine Country Century

May 6, 2008

By Allie Burch
Novato, Cali

Awake at 5am on a Saturday. Ugh. This in itself is why I’m not a roadie. Today was the Wine Country Century and for some odd reason I was awake. To make myself feel better about being vertical and dressed at this ungodly hour, I start in on the chocolate, and I munched right on through the jeers of my “friends”: “you have a problem, it’s not even 6am and you’re eating chocolate!”

Mike, Abby, Jeni, Kyle and myself, truckin’ on up to Santa Rosa to prance around in skin-tight spandex at 7am on a 40 degree morning. Really, what the hell? But there we were. All of us, well, nearly all of us. Jeni and Kyle were still trying to find a parking spot when Abby, Mike and I rolled out. I hung out and waited for the Brooks-a-pokes as Abby and Mike pressed onward. We ended up being about eight minutes behind them, and at a pretty relaxed pace, the three of us figured we could easily work together to catch up. Thus begins our adventure.

All of us in a paceline are rotating nicely. There are two other fellas who are determined to “win” or “thin out the crowd” (yes, in a 2500 person tour), Kyle “throw the f’ing hammer down” Brookes, Jeni “Kyle, why have you stolen my road bike and expect me to keep up with you on a CX bike” Brookes and Allie “I can’t find my way out of a paper bag with a map” Burch. We are flying. As mile 13 of our “warmup” goes by, we still haven’t seen Abby or Mike, but since we’re still passing groups like they’re standing still we press on thinking that they’re just up the way…that is until we no longer see any more groups.

We climb. The five of us continue climbing alone and after about ten minutes of climbing alone the collective genius of the group determines that we have indeed gone off course. (ok, so I was probably taking a pull at that time) Kyle pulls out his gps, and we find a shortcut that takes us back to the group. We climb again and see Mike and Abby waiting at the first stop wondering just where in the hell we were.

We all continued on riding together. We rolled on through canyons, valleys and vineyards. The views were amazing and although there were a couple of steep short climbs, the majority of the course was downhill!

We were nearly to a rest stop when Pete rode up in his “Giant Strawberry Parfait” kit (I was really hungry by this time so this is what I saw) and we started yakking about the Velo Bella characters. We talked about some of the blogs, sung “My Milkshake brings all the boys in the yard…” and just had a good ol’ time for a bit. He mentioned how he saw the write-up of the Velo Bella downhillers on Michael’s website. “Yeah!” I said, “This is the 2nd year of an actual DH squad!” He eyeballed me kinda sideways like “pardon me for bringing this to your attention, “Ms. Downhiller”, but you’re fully clad in spandex. Do you notice something wrong with this picture?”

We continued chatting about Velo Bella and mutual friends and acquaintances. I was really only trying to make conversation when I said, “yeah, from what I understand Sabine and Michael are hitting the track quite a bit. I hear he’s quite good.” To which he replied and chuckled, “Michael? Hrmp! He’s soft!” Now, I’m no geologist, but I’d say them thar’s fightin’ words. Hey, I just report the news, I don’t make it up!

The course rolled on through the undulating terrain of the Russian River wine country. I would recommend this route for anyone for riding or just for wine tasting. The vineyards and wineries aren’t as commercialized and “grand” as it’s Napa Valley counterparts, but Mike and I have found that the quaintness of the wineries and quality of the wine exceeds that of the quantity some of the more touristy places of the valley pump out.

We rode as far north as Lake Sonoma, where we had lunch and then turned south to begin our ride back to the start/finish. The eastern side of 101 through Geyeserville is a bit more exposed, but still beautiful, even after logging 85 miles.

At mile 86, though I started having the “weird fantasy” phenomenon. I could think of nothing else than getting the hell out of my chamois and slipping into my Kamala skirt. It’s a dress, it’s a skirt, it’s smarter than your average bear…and you don’t have to wear a bra! Anyway, it was kinda weird, but it kept me going.

We ended up finishing and were thankful for the BBQ spread they had set up for the riders. And yes, I did get to wear my skirt/dress.

If anyone were thinking about doing their first century in Northern California, I would highly recommend this event. It’s well organized, friendly, attentive and mostly downhill.

Dirt, Sweat, and Gears 12-Hour race report :: Angela Brown

May 6, 2008



(The Muddy Sisters on the podium, minus one member. All photos courtesy Clay, except bottom, courtesy Gary Collins )


(above: Angela talks with Sandra Tomlinson before the race start)

Wow! What a party and what a weekend! I signed up for the Dirt Sweat and Gears 12 Hour race back in December, suckering Hope Hayes of Team Wood n Wave into a two-woman amateur team. In good weather, this would have been a decent idea on the 10-mile loop. Exhausting for two people riding 12 hours, but doable. After the deluge of rain Friday night and Saturday morning, it turned into downright silly. So, after a quick conference with the other two-woman team we knew at the race, we instigated a merger. The Mud Bunnies and the Twisted Sister teams became the Muddy Sisters…..saving our sanity and our bodies.

The race began with a shotgun start and a run-up to the bikes. Since I had been giving Hope lip a few weeks earlier about how she needed to consider adding running into her training, that made me a shoe-in to do the run up. BLAM! Off we went. I had tied a pink bandana to my bike and went straight for it, and the line of racers wound around the field and into the woods….

…and then came to a screeching halt. What in the world?

(This is what the first few miles of the first lap looked like…hike a bike!)

Evidently, the soil around the course in Fayetteville, TN, has a good bit of clay in it, as I came to realize. The line stopped because people had mud-packed wheels grinding to a halt in the thick mud. This was beyond Chickasaw and Canal Loop mud, the two other XC mud races I had just completed. This was PLAY DOUGH. I mean, for crying out loud, kids were making fake turds out of the stuff later in the day and throwing them at each other. When packed, it hung together like nothing I’ve ever seen.

(me, after the first lap, on my way to a short nap)

The lap that should have been 1.5 hours or less stretched into 2 hours and 17 minutes of pep talk and mechanical discoveries. The routine became: hop on, roll until your wheels clog, get off, find a good stick, dig the mud out of your cleats, pedals fork and tires, get rolling again, repeat. I saw a few who had both wheels that wouldn’t turn, and one guy with his bike on his shoulders. My loop eventually turned into hike-a-bike, with about 4 miles of the hilly 10 being me walking my bike with the front wheel off the ground because the back wouldn’t clog as often.

Finally, I made it out and tagged the next team member, washed my bike and stuff, changed clothes and napped on a hay bale.

When my next lap came around, it was right at 1:33. That’s more like it. The first one cooked me so bad that there was no hope for another in the window we had left to complete the race. Our team completed a total of 6 laps on the course….not as high as I had hoped, but high enough to place 20 out of 25…and we were the only all-woman team at Dirt, Sweat and Gears!

After I completed my lap, I went back to talk to Paul, the Ellsworth rep who had approached me earlier because I had on my Velo Bella kit. He invited me over to hang out at Monique "Pua" Sawicki’s tent and watch her pit change. The woman is an animal! She completed 9 laps on the course to win the women’s Solo Pro division. I didn’t get a pic with her later because I was too shy. I really should have.

(Me, in shock, accepting my signed Gary Fisher frame from the man himself!)

After the race, the podium and prizes started. I walked away with one of the biggies…a Gary Fisher frame signed by the man himself! I accepted my frame and shook hands with the legend. Our team also got called up on the podium for a special box o’ goodies. We registered thinking there would be a 4 woman team division, but 20 out of 25 in the 4 person team division wasn’t bad, considering that one team member left early and our strongest one couldn’t make it because of a family emergency.

Interested in coming next year? Check out

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