Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series #2, OR

June 29, 2009


Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series #2, OR

21st, Beth Hamon, Women 3, 19+

Benicia Time Trial, CA

June 28, 2009

Benica Time Trial, CA

3rd, Marsha Kirschbaum, Women 3
5th, Sarah Clatterbuck, Women 4

Burlingame Criterium, CA

June 28, 2009

Burlingame Criterium, CA

16th, Brittany Thibault, Women 4
23rd, Brittany Gribault, Women 4

XTerra Tahoe City Sprint, CA

June 27, 2009


XTerra Tahoe City Sprint, CAimg_0001-200x300

1st, Sabine Dukes, Female 40+

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series #1, OR

June 22, 2009


Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series #1, OR

22nd, Beth Hamon, Women 3, 19+

Nevada City Classic, CA

June 21, 2009


Nevada City Classic, CAimg_2137

16th, Marian Jamison, Women 1/2/3

Mount Diablo Hill Climb, CA

June 20, 2009

Mount Diablo Hill Climb, CA

9th, Marsha Kirschbaum, Women 45+

Monica Wins Kern in Team Effort

June 17, 2009

Kern County Stage Race
Women 35+

By Monica Neilson

Velo Bella Kern

Bellas! Andrea Atkins, Stella Carey, Sabine Dukes,
Linda Locke, Sue Lovecchio, Laura Sanchez, and Me, Monica

I went into the weekend with no expectations except to race my heart out for whatever Bella among us, was in the best position to win. I’ve watched the 35+ group of Bellas race with strategy and team tactics at Kern before. I was excited to play with them. And once again, they raced liked seasoned pros!

Stage One – Bena TT

Check in time was 11:30-12:30 with starting times posted at 12:45. We figured we’d be going off around 1:30 but discovered actual starting times like 2:32 & 2:36 & 2:48 – so this began the first round of killing time, sitting under the pop-ups, avoiding the sun, resting your legs on ice chests, drinking as much fluid as possible – all of which was repeated over and over and over again before the weekend was finished.

I’ve always done TT’s by heart rate but when I took off and hit the start button I wasn’t in the right view. I spent the first 500m or so messing around with it to no success. Finally, I told myself %^$# it, just put your head down and go! Your legs will tell you whether you can do more or not.” I managed to pull out a half-way decent time and came out of it in 2nd place, only 23 seconds back. Sue and Stella weren’t too far behind me.

Stage Two – Woody Basin Road Race

This race offers time bonuses each lap plus time bonuses for the finish. Our goal, as a team, was to get the stage win, keep first place from getting any bonuses and get as many bonuses as we could to move Sue up in GC. My job was to do nothing, sit in, if I could steal some bonuses without any big efforts go for it, but other than that do nothing. Sweet! I like this.

First lap was text book perfect, Linda and Andrea went off the front about 2.5 miles before the line to steal the bonus times. This same plan didn’t work so well as the others caught on to our tactics so we had to adjust. We made steady attacks to try and gobble up points, but our attacks were a little harder than needed and wore some people out. Stella, Linda, Laura, Sabine, everyone took turns playing (working).

Late in the race Sue popped a spoke. She told me to go to the front, slow things down so she could get a wheel change from the car. It was classic! I went up front and just started chatting with Janet, (girl who was in 1st in GC) As we talked I pedaled just a little bit softer, slowing the pace down as did Janet without even realizing it. Funny thing was, neither Janet nor her teammates ever looked back to see what was happening. Sue, Laura, Linda, Sabine were all back in no time!

As we approached the finish Sue and I whispered about who’s wheel to be on and where to be in the corner. As always the finish was a little dicey but I managed to get over the line in 2nd place. Best part was Janet didn’t get any time bonuses but her teammate Sonia scored several including the win.

Stage Three – Havilah Hill Climb

This stage should really be called Hellish Hill Climb as I swear its hotter than hell and the climb is a bitch! Throw in a little headwind and WHOA…we got us a real gem.

We started out with Sonia and Janet tied for first in GC, me sitting 2 seconds back, Sue about 35 seconds behind that. Our game plan was for Sue and I to stay protected on the 2-3 mile lead into “the climb” then try to get away. If we can do anything to help each other great, if not remember it’s a drag race to the top. As soon as we started Bev Chaney the only non- Bella or non-pinkie in the field took off. No one responded. Bev is an accomplished mtn biker, not a real experienced road racer, and new to this event. The feeling among the team was that she wasn’t a threat for the long sustained effort this climb took.

As we turned into the climb the field quickly went down to Sue, Janet, and I. We passed Bev before long, she was mixed in with some of the Cat 4’s who started 2 min ahead of us. Sue and I were watching Janet to assess her status and we both felt like she was hurting. I felt great. I moved in front, tried to keep Sue protected.

Sue came up along side, gave me a look saying “ if you can go, go” I added a little more pressure to the pedals and soon found myself with a gap. When I saw Michael, Tyler, and Erika at about the halfway point I really began to think I could pull this thing out. I took all the water I could get, thrown on my back, over my head, I think Erika even just sprayed me all over – it was really refreshing. I ended up nailing this climb, giving myself close to a 3 min advantage on the field. Sue had a fantastic ride, coming in 2nd and putting about 30 seconds into Janet.

Stage Four – Iron Mtn Road Race

There’s a saying I’ve heard about Bakersfield – it’s not hell but you can see it from there. Well, Sunday we might’ve agreed with that. It was hot, really hot! Some say 108, with temps on the road of 114.

Going into the stage, I had 1st in GC with a 2:50 lead, Janet in 2nd, Sue in 3rd about 45 seconds behind Sue, and Sonia, Janet’s teammate about 1 minute behind Sue. Our goal for the stage, protect Sue’s and my GC standing, get the stage win and move Sue up if possible.

The first lap was very uneventful, almost boring. I sat on the back, just riding it out. I’ve never had this experience before. It was sweet, I was diggin’ it. I was also thinking, man when is something exciting going to happen, then boom – . Laura pops a spoke…uh, oh. No follow vehicle.

Boom #2

I flat.

Laura, Sabine, and Linda do a quick check of who has Campy, who has Shimano and Linda gives me her wheel. Laura and Linda were so calm as we changed my wheel. They reminded me not to panic, you’ve got plenty of time. I told myself, “ just a controlled, concentrated effort, don’t blow your wad getting back, you have teammates up there, they’ll be controlling the pace. Stay within yourself.” Sabine was 1km or so up the road to ensure I was up and moving. I asked if she wanted me to keep her with me. She said, “No Monica just GO!”

I made contact with the group just at the base of the main climb and just like seasoned pros, Stella and Andrea were sitting on the front keeping the pinkies in line. Evidently, they did try to take advantage of my mishap but the girls shut them down. Sue kept giving me hand signals to remind me to take deep breaths, relax, and settle in. The pinkies let Stella set the pace up the climb which shocked me, as they had the perfect opportunity to make a move but nothing happened.

As we neared the long descent off Pine Mountain the pinkies started making their move to the front. I knew there was no way those girls could out ride Stella on a descent. I decided to take it easy down the hill as I had this borrowed wheel which was a sew up and I’ve never ridden one. Plus, I started thinking things like “ did we lock the skewer well? Is the wheel in there straight?” Andrea and Sue both checked to make sure I was ok.

At the bottom of the descent one of the pinkies took the lead and began setting the pace. You’d think they’d start trading pulls and showing signs of racing this thing to the finish but this didn’t happen. I told Sue I think they’d settled, they weren’t looking at anything but the stage results. There simply wasn’t enough time in the race left to make up 3 min.

This is when Sue started telling me she was cramping and not feeling so great. She asked me to keep a watch on the pace, don’t let it get too high so she doesn’t get dropped. Stella was covering the front with the three pinkies. As we made our way through the working descent before the final climb to the finish I moved up with Stella, filled her in on Sue and slowed things down. I kept looking around fully expecting the pinkies to jump but nope, nothing. Sue was sitting on my wheel reminding me to ease off when necessary, but showing no signs of distress.

We started going up with maybe 2km to the finish, Stella said “ you know if you can go, go. You’re the strongest one here, they’re not gonna do anything so go if you can go.”

When we got to the ridge where I could see the finish I put more pressure on my pedals, stayed seated and rode off. Sonia and Janet jumped and caught me. I sat up. I didn’t want them sitting on my wheel so we had a little cat fight.

Then Janet took the lead. I sat on her wheel, and we dropped Sonia. Janet was out of the saddle pulling me up with her. About 50m from the line I tried to get her, but didn’t have it. 2nd for me. Sonia, 3rd, with Sue and Stella rolling in right after. We hung onto our 1st and 3rd in GC for Sue and I.

Thank You Bellas!

Sorry for making this so long, but I wanted to share the team work that went into this win. All I did was ride a decent time trial and nail that hill climb it was what everyone else did that made the win happen. I’ve been trying to work today, you know like my real work, but I find myself overwhelmed by the weekend, the sacrifices made, the encouragement shared, the raw will and determination everyone had, it’s got me all verklempt. Thanks ladies, you’re all my heros, can’t wait ‘til next time!

Saying thank you doesn’t do justice for what Michael, Tyler, Erika and Rick did for us this weekend. You guys make us all feel like queens even tho, only Stella wears the tiara.

Great job everybody!

A Million Degrees Kelvin: Liz Wins Kern

June 17, 2009

By Liz Benishin

Middle-of-Nowhere in Kern County
Temperatures measured in Kelvin Scale
Category: Masters Women 45+
Placings: 1st TT, 1st hillclimb, 6th circuit race, 4th RR
1st in General Classification by over 5 minutes

liz benishin

Stage 1 TT, warmed up well, which we had plenty of time for since our start time was about 2 hours later than we had anticipated. So lots of gabbing in the Bella tent and ordering the guys to pump tires, oil chains, check shifting etc. I was first off in my group, with a huge gap, so no rabbits to chase. I have to thank Karl at SVCC for doing a bit of an aero cleanup on my bike. Hammered my brains out, and did the 10 miles in 26:04. My perennial TT rival Dawn came over to me later and told me that I had smoked her by 50 seconds, which over this distance is huge.

Later that evening, Monica gets a call in her hotel room..
Hotel clerk: Is Liz there?
Monica: No, but we have a Liz in our group
Hotel Clerk: We have a package for her. It is a calvin klein box with insulin and syringes. (Did they open it??)
Mon: Uh, I don’t think that is hers
Hotel Clerk: There is a phone number (which wasn’t mine)
Mon: I don’t think that is hers.

Monica to Liz…the UCI is going to be knocking on your door. Ha!

Next day was a logistic nightmare, we headed out to Walker Basin for a circuit race, which my goal was to make back time, and help teammate Andi Mackie get some sprint bonuses, but not work too hard. Andi got 2nd and some time bonuses.

Then we sat around in the tent for a few hours, ate, told stories of bike gore and glory, then packed up to the next venue, a diablo-esque hillclimb. This stage really determines the race. I warmed up on the road for about 10 minutes, tried to stay out of the sun, and off we went. The first 3 miles were gentle climbing with a tailwind, so it was hot, then we made the turn to the hill proper.

I was near the front, and just paced off a couple skinny girls that I assumed were climbers, I just watched my heart rate and rode steady. I went around the skinny girls and eventually it got real quiet, and I realized I was alone. This was pretty early on, so I figured I better watch myself to not blow. I looked back and I saw some bright yellow, which I thought was the Southbay wheelmen girl, and I debated if I wanted to ride with her, or just keep on keepin on..finally I realized it was her husband (you know you have been out in the sun too long when you mistake a big guy for a teeny climber chick).

Passed mile markers, 2 feed zones including Michael (Hernandez) who yelled out “Don’t Bury Yourself” which I thought he was telling me to slow down. I was passing a lot of riders from other categories who were cheering me on. Finally after what seemed like the longest 1k I rolled over the finish line and ate watermelon. I was a full 4 minutes faster than the 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

I had 2+ minutes over these girls on the TT so as long as I didn’t crash (physically, physiologically or emotionally) in the RR I was all set for glory. Got back to the hotel about 8 PM. It was a long day.

4th and final stage, my plan was no flats, no crashes, and to help Andi. I had no reason to hammer, though the other girls kept waiting for me to attack, which I had no reason to do. Pretty much the group stayed together. Andi flatted right after the feed zone, but easily caught back on (luckily one of the team cars was at the feed with spare wheels, we had no follow vehicle). She caught on with no problem.

We did drop a few people on the climb but essentially stayed together, the last time through the feed Michael (I think that was him..) was holding up bottles and a wheel if Andi wanted her wheel back. In my overheated, fried state I found this funny. Final 1k climb we all pretty much stayed together till about 100m to go 2 people took off, I had Andi on my wheel, and she was 3rd, I was 4th.

Awards as always were fun. I especially love the t shirts, with Linda Locke and Andrea Atkins’ picture from last year.

Special and HUGE thanks to Mike, Rick, Tyler and Erika for taking care of all our needs, allowing us to boss you around, tending to logistics, and other miscellaneous duties too numerous to count!

A Little Delirious: Marian Does Kern

June 16, 2009

By Marian Jamison
Reno, Nevada

marianjSo, I wrote up a long verbose race report for my coach, and I’d considered just copying and pasting it here, but who wants to read about my truly weak performance this weekend? Instead I prefer to publish the lighter moments at Kern, the thoughts that had me chuckling even as I struggled against getting dropped in 114 degree heat outside of nobody’s favorite city, Bakersfield.

• To begin with, I rocked the TT. Let’s just leave it at that.

• As I bonked, cracked, cramped, and limped my way up the hill climb I thought, “oh, so this is what dying feels like.”

As I was dying in the RR the next day I kept laughing to myself about how this is what dying feels like, I think I might have been a little delirious.

• A certain princess suggested that the reason I’ve failed to secure my cat 2 upgrade is because of my inability to avoid getting rookie marks if I so much as look at a bike.

• Thanks to Monica I will now ask myself “Marian, are you getting shot at?” whenever I have a bad race, and feel a little better about myself.

• Heather Pryor, the girl who totally kicked my ass all weekend, is afraid of mountain biking, so I teased her a lot during the road race until she dropped me. It was very fun. I had people tell me, “I’m following your line on the decents!” because I kept telling them how much I’d rather be up in Tahoe riding knobbie tires instead.

• SueNami spit chewed up watermelon on me as I lay in the dirt at the top of the hill climb. That made me laugh, I don’t think anyone’s ever spit chewed up watermelon on me before. It was awesome.

• It’s totally worth 14 hours in a hot car to hang out with my teammates for a weekend.

• A girl I’ve been racing against a lot this spring told me on the start line of the road race, “We were talking about how there are two types of bike racers: the kind that sit in and wait for the finish and worry a lot about their results, and the kind who, results be damned, get up there and make stuff happen. You’re the second type.” So I’m kind of paraphrasing there, but you get the point. I’m stoked to be the second type, and some day I’ll have the fitness to back up the crazy things I do.

• Hernando and Sabine insisted on buying me dinner both nights, I think it’s because I told them that I slept in my car at collegiate nationals. A move that Michael classified as “totally unacceptable.” Come on! What?

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. I’m still exhausted, sunburned, and desperately in need of doing a load of laundry. I’ve somehow volunteered to organize the Tour de Nez century ride, that will take place on the day I’m racing Nevada City. Huh? How’re you going to work that one, Mare? Sigh . . . time will tell.

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