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Race Reports Archive

April 2003

04/26-27/03 - Wente Races
by Marilynn Laswell

Well all I can say is it is over! The road race was hard! All those hills. What was I thinking???? I was in the front for about 5 seconds. Then they all rode off at the first hill. Jen is a stud!!! I only wish I could climb like here. We missed her at the crit.

I look forward to the crit. Yes, I love them. They're flat. Heather attacked and attacked. I attacked but no one would go! The field was very nervous. Tracie saved me a couple of times. I must say the Velo Girls work well. I was impressed. Those pink jersey with little flower. Well they deserve some respect.

I think we worked well together, for not really knowing each others' strong points. I heard people saying we where strong. Laurie did very well too. Everyone is just great. Tracie your race report was great! You are so funny. Well, all I can say....... VELO BELLAS...... have a very cool team!!!!!!

04/26/03 - Hamlet and the Wente Criterium
by Tracie "I'm not a climber but that's OK" Nelson

How all criteriums do inform against me
And spurn my dull revenge! What is a bike racer,
If her chief good and market of her time
Be but to sit in the pack and suck wheel? Smart, that's what.
Sure he that made up the Wente race course,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability to hold our lines
To fust in us unused! Now, whether it be
2 or 200 times that Heather attacked the field
I do not know, I lost count -
And the number of times Marilyn saved my butt
And helped me out - For this I know
Why yet I live to say, "Velo Bella kicks ass,"
Since we have the cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples gross as hot gu exhort me.
Witness this peleton of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender Bay Area Velo Girl,
Whose sprint, with divine VO2 max puffed,
provides a most excellent leadout,
Exposing what is mortal and undertrained (not me)
To all that fortune, death (I hope not),
and danger (twas plenty of that) dare,
Even for a cruddy bag of granola.
Rightly to be a winner
Is not to protest without great argument,
But greatly to insist on getting 25th place
When honor's at the stake (at least I don't have a triple).
How stand I then,
That have a teammate with 4th place,
a prime won,
Excitements of my reason and my sweat,
And let all be merry, while to my delight I see
The imminent fun of fifty cat 4 women
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to a bike race, fight for a podium spot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not big enough for everyone
To fit on? O, from this time forth,
My RPE rating be 20, or be nothing worth!

*Editor's Note: I thought the granola was pretty good and not at all cruddy and thank the sponsor for being so generous and hope that she has a sense of humor...

04/13/03 - Sea Otter MTB Race
by Heather Kirkby

The xcountry race was super fun but the highlight of my day was probably riding the Fair Lady around the marketplace I loved the streamers and of course the basket.

Teresa is a rock star for actually racing with streamers.

It was pouring rain when we left home - I had pictures of HUGE swallowing puddles of mud and vain attempts at getting my bike up slippy hills boy was I in for a sweet surprise! Id even changed my tires to these fat knobby things I havent ridden in years (apparently I decided on the eve of the Sea Otter I had somehow become a tire guru). I had the good sense to throw my trusty Pythons in the trunk which are the ONLY tire Ive ridden in, oh, several years.

Wandering through the marketplace to register I kept noticing I had the Worlds Fattest Tires and it wasnt actually looking too muddy at all, it wasnt even raining. Back to the car. Back to the Pythons. Wow, I had changed my mtb tires more in 24 hours than I had in 2 years race hadnt started and I was already setting personal records!

So I love having VB teammates, can I tell you? How sucky would it be to (1) warm up alone and (2) not be wearing the coolest jersey at Sea Otter?

I headed to the start line and my warm-up buddy Suzy headed to take a final leak. As I got to the start area I saw a man I had never met before that was jumping around shouting Wheres Suzy?. No introduction was needed, it was instant recognition from a very special photo:

I let Jed know what was up and Suzy made it to the start line! Phew. And *boom* off we went!

I had a lot of fun at this race the trails, the views, even the weather it was all soooo good. Having ridden the course several weeks ago there was a vague familiarity too which was really helpful in reminding me of all the pain and suffering that lay ahead. It was all fun pain though (ha ha) and I even have on a silly grin in photos to prove it!

Here is a summary of some of the more memorable events of my race:

I must confess my passing skills do require some finesse. For the most part I did OK but I did make one pass that failed (sorry to whoever you are! at least I crashed too it was unfortunate that my bar end and your spokes decided it was mating season).

There was a funny man screaming at all the boys that were walking their bikes up the 3 bitches. There was another girl behind me when I hit them and we both were able to stay upright (despite my visions of endless mud the precip followed by a dry spell had made lots of sections easier I think)...and this funny man started screaming even the girls can do it,even the girls can do it, you guys suck. I dont think the boys appreciated any of this but as a middle sister who has been crushed all her life by both an older and younger brother it was nice, for once, to beat the boys...and be recognized for it ; )

Before I knew it I was heading to the Grind, getting passed by 3 girls as I emerged from the final section of singletrack great! Wheels to grab! And so it was...a 4-bike girlie train going at a good pace, and I was caboose heading up the Grind.

About 3/4 of the way up I sensed the 3rd car was going to fall off the train so I made the move to stay on the train, and I did. But then the train picked up the pace and I started sucking wind as the car in front of me started slowly getting farther and farther away. We were getting close to the top of the Grind. And then some woman in a black and pink sweatsuit started shouting Go Bella! Get that wheel! Go get it! COME ON! COME OOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN!! She was going nuts, it was total inspiration. I dug deep and I got that wheel and hung on for dear life. And quickly the grade leveled off and we hit the pavement and I thought hammer time!. I hadnt taken a good look at the Laguna Seca raceway before starting so I had no idea we actually had a ways to go but in my naivete I just blew away from both those girls in full sprint mode.

No sight of a finish line...hmmm...and this pace is totally nsustainable for me...hmmmm. One of the girls caught up to me and told me we had a ways to go and then stayed on my wheel. We played this weird cat and mouse game to the end it seemed to me she was letting me ride hard and she was just going to sit on my wheel and then sprint to the finish. I ended up changing my pace (to see what she would do) and when I finally had the end in sight I just gave it everything and that was that. I dont even think she was in my category but I think we both had fun pretending to be race cars on the raceway...weeeee!

Thanks to Sabine for leading a Sea Otter pre-ride (one of many!) for Julie, Scott and I after one of the CCCX races. Thanks to all the Bellas for making racing so much fun, and to Sabine for making the Bellas what we are.

I had a blast!

PS. My Man raced in his first mountain bike race ever at Sea Otter! In his enthusiasm and perhaps a wacko demonstration of raw strength (or poor mechanical skills) he ripped the crank right off his bike (& lost the bolt but pedaled home nonetheless!) dropped right onto the trail and he had to hike back to get it if you can imagine...I think the problem was he took a quantum leap in bike technology and got in over his head (and my head) going from his regular racing on this 2-wheeled monster...

04/11/03 - Sea Otter Road Race and My Freudian Struggles
by Tracie "I'm not a climber!" Nelson

Sea Otter - the big cheese, the head honcho, the coup de grace, the mother of all races. Oooh, I was excited alright. I got my taste of the podium last year and I wanted more. More, baby, more.

Denise (my humble hostess) and I decided to take advantage of this alleged Cycle Ops warm up tent thing. Only thing is we couldn't find it. ("Excuse me, might you happen to know where I can find a Cycle Ops tent?" - "Cyclops? What?") Oh well, I could just ride around on the roads and track instead. Remembering last year's race, I thought to myself, "self, the race does not start on a hill. A low-intensity warm-up on the road with serve you well." HA. HA. If only I knew...

I arrived promptly at the start line ready to face my field. I was excited to see quite a thrawl of women, unfortunately for me, I was signed up for the U23 women's race, with a whopping field of TWO. My competitor in the singular and I were staged with the junior women behind the 3/4s. However, the officials told us that they had changed their minds and that we could start with the 3/4 field. (Score!) But as I inched my way up towards the front of the field the harsh, scratchy voice of an official (okay, so maybe it wasn't all that harsh or scratchy) called me back. "You have to start back here with the juniors!" Uh... ok-ay...

While waiting for the start I had a lovely time chatting with my competitor in the singular about her many successes in Pro stage races. (Id says: sabotage.... sabotage! It's the only way!)

And then the women 3/4s were off. Bye-bye! Good luck! Adieu! Farewell! And the harsh, scratchy voice of an official: "juniors and espoirs you'll be racing with the women! Sorry for the confusion!" (Superego says: Well, that is morally unjust.)

So we were off, too. Chasing from the line, on a freaking hill that only the devil (or a sea otter) would put at the start of a road race. I was so angry about the start line fiasco (Id says: they will pay... pay dearly) that I fired right up the little hill. Unfortunately, so did everyone else.

So I was off the back of the pack before I even left Laguna Seca. True, so were a lot of other people, but I spent the remaining 33.5 miles of the race chasing through various stragglers. After the first couple hills I found myself scanning the side of the road for sharp objects. Anything to give myself a flat. (Sabotage took on a new meaning.) Then at least I would have a good excuse.

I was pleased with myself for passing so many people on the hills and never peing passed. I don't know why I was trying so hard; I had second place no matter what (or so I thought). But. Superego says: that's not what it's about, you fool. If you're going to do this, you're going to do it right.

So on that last hill, you know, the long son of a gun, I "kicked it up another notch" - I think I passed six people. Maybe I should start mountain biking.

I finished. I felt like crap, but all things considered, at least I tried. (I'd says: "Never again. I'm sticking to crits. Or maybe the couch. Or maybe I'll just sit at home and write race reports and pretend like I'm out there suffering.")

The rest of the day I spent mosying around the expo and eating pizza (a strange forshaddowing of things to come... shudder). Somehow I ended up with 3rd Place because an invisible third competitor snagged second. I missed my awards ceremony on accident, but I didn't really care anyway seeing as it was all kind of silly, except that now I couldn't give away all my free stuff and look like I'm being a nice person.

It was especially fun camping near the downhill site. It made me feel really good about my race as my wipe-out rate is a little better than the people I watched.

Saturday was rainy and dreary, but good because I found out I didn't have to spend a full 4.5 hours on bouncy house duties, which is good because I think I'll have nightmares for the rest of my life after having spent only 20 minutes supervising that pizza thing. (Child's Body Found Mutilated in Butt-like Entrance of Inflatable Pizza.) I'd says: Sabotage! Sabotage the bouncy house! It's the only way!

It was really fun to hang out in the VB booth for a bit too and see the interest that everyone has in the team. Sea Otter is where I found out about Velo Bella last year, and so it was cool to see that our team has some good vibrations goin' on this year, too. Just bummed about missing those hoola festivities; can't nobody get their groove on with the hula hoop like I can!

04/11/03 - Sea Otter Road 3/4
by Jennifer Chapman

My goal was to finish better than last year. Last year I finished second to last so I already had that going for me. When I rolled to the starting lineup with me was Michele Thomas I noticed Ginger was already up at the front of the pack waiting for the start. I knew I was in trouble at that point. That meant the pace was going to be very fast and the hills were not going to slow her down.

Why is it always so hard to clip in at the start of a race? It's like I have opposing magnets on my cleats and pedals. Anyways, I did end up getting clipped in and managed to avoid a crash about 100 yards from the start. I rushed around to the outside to try to get a better position up near the front and set my sights for Ginger's wheel. I found it and managed to keep it for the remainder of the race. That is until the last hill climb. At about the 4 or 3 km sign my heart rate and breathing had maxed out and I dropped from the group. I did manage to pass a few boys going up the hill and that gave me enough of a boost to keep up speed over the hill and prevent them from catching me on the track.

I was completely shocked that I came in top 10 when my goal was really to better my miserable results of last year. Ginger is such a huge motivation to me and I only wished that I could have been more of a help to her in the race and lead out for the end. My friend Michele had a great result also and I commend her for entering the race as she just had surgery 4 weeks before the race.

I did race the circuit race on Sat. and the Santa Cruz Criterium on Sunday but was pretty worked from Friday so I was just happy to have finished those races.

04/06/03 - Redlands Classic NRC Stage Race
I’m happy to report that Velo Bella had another fantastic Stage Race! We sent 5 women to compete in the Redlands Classic Stage Race. We knew the competition would be some of the toughest faced in North American Women’s racing as Genevieve Jeanson and the Rona team would join the best from Saturn and TMobile in contesting the event.

Things got off to a shaky start for our team as results were mediocre in both the Prologue and Stage 1 events. But the girls were feeling good, and the next two days promised lots of climbing to test the riders. Velo Bella rode aggressively in Stage 2, with Vanessa Guyton launching several attacks early in the stage. Eventually, Genevieve launched the final attack and rode away. The first chase group consisted of 2 Saturn and 2 TMobile riders. Behind them, Velo Bella’s Felicia Greer was launching a chase of her own that splintered the chasing field. Only Velo Bella’s Lynn Gaggioli could keep up with Felicia’s climbing pace and the pair finished 6th and 7th for the stage. Their move catapulted Lynn from 12th place overall to 6th and moved Felicia from about 40th to 10th overall.

Velo Bella captain, Susy Pryde, noted Felicia’s climbing prowess. She told Felicia that she should be climbing with the leaders. The plan for Stage 3 was to keep Felicia near the front so she could go when the leaders went. Genevieve didn’t wait long to attack, as she attacked on the first lap. 2 Saturn and 2 TMobile took chase and Felicia went with them as planned. Felicia, who is a PhD and works full-time teaching at the University of Fresno, hung on to the group as long as she could. She eventually fell off when Genevieve attacked again. Felicia was forced to ride the remaining race on her own, but remarkably she still finished 5 minutes over the chasing field to finish in 6th place on the stage. This move launched her from 10th place to 6th overall and earned several mentions in race reports on the event. For example, race report referred to Felicia as “promising, but relatively unknown.”

The team hung tough through 3 more tough stages of racing, doing all they could to protect Felicia and Lynn’s high G.C. placing. The racing was fast and aggressive, but all went well. Felicia finished in 6th overall and Lynn finished in 7th. Velo Bella successfully scored the first non-pro team slots with Rona, Saturn and TMobile taking the top five. We are so proud of our ladies!

And many thanks to the volunteers (mostly husbands of the riders!) who helped out in feed zones and follow vehicles! Thank you also to all of our sponsors for all of your support!

Top ten overall standings at Redlands Classic:

  1. Genevieve Jeanson (Can) Rona-Esker - 11.13.18
  2. Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling - 12.52
  3. Manon Jutras (Can) Saturn Cycling - 12.56
  4. Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile USA - 14.24
  5. Kimberly Bruckner (USA) T-Mobile USA - 17.26
  6. Felicia Greer (USA) Velo Bella - 29.22
  7. Lynn Gaggioli (USA) Velo Bella - 31.14
  8. Katherin Maher (USA) - 31.29
  9. Leah Goldstein (Can) Victory Brewing/Amoroso's - 31.32
  10. Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team

Note from Felicia
What can I say except THANKS SOOOOOO much for all the bella Beams, emails and girls are really awesome. It was a tough go - for me, 10 days of racing in 11 days - my legs hurt to look at them!!!!! We all hung tough and all the bellas doing Sea Otter - I will be the one sending beams big time...and if my legs recover by then, you can borrow my climbing legs - just bag them for the crit, ok! :-)

Yeah, the crit was a tough one - whew - hard from the gun - 9 corners means there is nowhere to catch up when I - get myself in the back of the pack - andthen fall off because there was a crash in front of me - actually, that just sounds good - even though there a was a crash, and I did get gapped off...truth is, I was toO dead to catch up - oh well...

Today was a better day - got slammed into a cement wall a couple of times and so had to chase back on (2nd time I actually had to get off my bike, put it back on the road and start pedalling up hill), but hey, it was uphill, so it didn't seem as bad as the crit :-)

Anyway, thx again, you are really a great source of encouragement out there.

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