Racing the Pink Hurricane

June 7, 2010

Turn off the Giro! The Heck with the TOC…

This is what you REALLY want to hear about.

The Flair-a- licious bellas headed to the balmy breezes of Bakersfield (not the usual heat measured in Kelvin degrees). Numerous emails flew back and forth deciding who should race in which Master’s category. We ended up with Sue Lo and I in the 35+ and Monica, Cammy, Andi Mackie, and Linda Locke in 45+.

As soon as we registered the entire Pinky team registered. I think they waited to see what we were racing before they signed up. Feh. They posted on their Pinky website the Pink Hurricane was coming to town. (soon to be downgraded to a tropical depression).

Bena ITT
What can I say about the TT? Well, it wasn’t hot or terribly windy, though it seemed to be headwind all the way. I started out the 35+, with a big gap between me and the 4’s so no help there. I was testing out my new speed suit so hoping for some added fastness. In my category was the pinky girl who smoked me at Madera so I had to really pull off a good TT.

Mike Hard, the official told me at the line I did the race more times than he officiated so I could read the rules myself. Which I did.
Rode hard, kept concentration, turned around the cone, rode back, crossed the line. and, well, yeah, I won by 35 seconds.

Monica was having trouble with her front derailleur and couldn’t go from small to big, and there is a pretty giant size hill, which you can stand and stomp or go small chainring and stay aero. I told her, no biggie in the biggie, but as I was riding up in my small chainring, I was thinking she would likely kill me for the advice.

Cammy had a great ride in her group for the win.

Stage 2 walker basin circuit race.

If you don’t like sprinting this stage sucks. Bonus points every lap, and with my group of 5 and going head to head against a sprinter, I had to do some semblance of a sprint each lap, but remembering I had a big old climb waiting for me that afternoon. Our meager peleton was 2 pinkies (Avalon former national team trackie from the 80’s and Janet G nice girl gone pink) and Julie from SJBC, another top trackie.

So each lap Avalon won each sprint, and of course the finish. Of note she was yammering to Janet, go harder, lead me out blablabla, and I’m thinking she could outsprint all of us even if we had a motorcycle leading us out! Let Janet save her legs for the hillclimb.

Havila Hillclimb

We hung out for a while then moved HQ to Havila for the hillclimb. Plan was Sue and I would ride together and get rid of everyone else. Popped Avalon on the 4 mile gradual rolling climb to the toe of the climb, rounded the corner and soon it was just Sue and I. I overcooked myself and was struggling, and offered Sue to go on, and leave me to the buzzards. She paced me and eventually I recovered and rode a good tempo. We rode together, and the glory was hers at the top.

I’m still hallucinating at the top and see Sue riding around, but what happened to her hair? Did she tuck it up under her helmet…No, its Monica!!! Holy crap she was just behind us, and kicked ass in her race.

Oh, yeah, she can tell you about her circuit race but she won that too.

The hill climb moved me back into first, Sue second. We gained 2:30 over the next climb finisher (Janet).

Woody RR

After getting back about 8:30 I was cleaning up my bike, and noted a nick and an aneurism in my rear race tire. crap. Had to ride my training wheel, which isn’t too heavy, but I love the lightness of the race wheels. Oh well, I had about 4 minutes to blow to keep my lead over Janet. The road course is full of bullheads making for a flatfest.

Anyway, short warmup, bunch of rollers till the big downhill. Which I think is a blast, and love to fly down it…in my moment of funnness, there is a cat 4 girl on the ground, support vehicle in the road, so we needed to go over the center line around a blind corner. Sue went to the right around the vehicle, through the dirt, and at that point I decided it wasn’t as much fun as I thought. All riders up and rolling, though marginally terrified. Avalon caught back on at the feed zone, rode with us on the descent, but was gone after the long climb.

Merrily we rode along, this time no descending insanity, chatted on the hillclimb, tempo’d along the way, Sue told me to go for the win, at 1 K I punched it, Janet couldn’t respond, Julie had fallen off on the main climb, Sue was pretty close behind, saw the finish tape pass under my wheel.

And just as I was stuffing my lungs back in my thorax, who comes by…Monica! By a country mile she grabbed first. Holy sh*t!

It was a bella trophy and GC sweep!

Will let them fill in their tales of glory! All I know is they rode smart and savvy.

We had a lovely and successful gang. No bitchin’, nothing but support and respect and bellavelolove among our teammies (I have been on some nasty ass teams and can tell you the bellas rock).

Side note….next year Masters Nationals will be in Bend. Masters squad will be on fire! I’m working on coordinating the masters team, so let me know if you want to have some fun!

—Liz Benishin
Northern Cali

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!