04/16/03 - Sea Otter Round Up
Man! What a week! Okay, so it wasnt a whole week, but it sure felt like it. I feel like I have a Sea Otter hang over. Except that it wasnt caused by too much beer, more like so much chaos, sun, rain, mud, sand, hula hoops, meeting new people, seeing old friends, temporary tattooing, running around like a chicken, T-Shirt hawking, race cheering, start line consoling, taking pictures, watching a pizza give birth to shoeless children (dont ask), blowing bubbles, chasing a wayward tent, oh and a little bit of racing.
The absolute highlight of the event has to be the performance of our MTB pro, Shelly Whisenhant. Shelly managed to make the podium with a 4th place finish in the Time Trial stage of the Elite MTB Stage Race. This surprise success earned several media mentions, including a race note quote in Velonews and podium pictures splashed across various media. Shelly continued her streak with an 8th place finish in the criterium, a 10th place finish in the short track and a mechanical marred 11th place finish in the cross country.
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We are particularly pleased with Shellys performance as this may be her last season racing for a while as she has orders to go to sea this winter. She is also the kindest, most incredible sportswoman many of us have ever met and oh so very much a part of what Velo Bella is all about.
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The efforts of Solano and Redlands left many members of our road team unable to race Sea Otter. Thank goodness we met Liz, who filled in for us. Liz has awesome legs and is funny to boot, so shes an honorary Velo Bella now. Vanessa, Cory and Judy rounded out the Elite squad. Their presence was a great motivation for the amateur members of our team and gave our large fan base in the area, including apparently some cows deep in Carmel Valley, someone to cheer for! We had 10 women compete in the amateur road events, highlighted by a 2nd place finish in the Womens 3/4 road race
by up and comer Ginger Buller. Most improved performance goes to Jen Chapman who finished 8th in the Womens 3 /4 road race after fnishing 50th last year! Is it the jersey&?
Other notable events were a win by Cyclocross National Champ, Kathy Lenno, in the Expert Women 35-39 category. She was the first expert woman overall, beating the next competitor by several minutes. Also reaching the podium in the expert category, was Jessica Runyon, with a 3rd place finish in the Expert Women 25-29. We had a total of 20 women competitors in the Cross Country events, including 2 first time racers, 2 juniors, 2 50+ women, 1 tandem team and 2 single speeders racing against the men!! Bellas racers and fans were everywhere. I competed in the singlespeed category and I know it was those Go Bella!! cheers I heard around the course that kept me going on the 2nd lap. Well, the beer from the Byrd crew partying at Lower Goat probably helped a little too!
Their stories say it better than I ever could.
View the Sea Otter results for the team and media mentions during the event.
Thanks for the party!