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Race Reports Archive

April 2004

04/19/04 - Karen's Sea Otter Weekend Race Report
by Karen Kevaufer

It is 9:30 a.m. Monday morning...and whoa! I am not at Sea Otter anymore! I am dazed and confused to be in Santa Cruz!

I worked 3, 14-hour days at Sea Otter, with 3 daily stories for the Sentinel sports section, published Sat., Sun. and today, Mon. plus a number of other assignments which allowed me to interview some of the winners in men's/women's downhill and cross country. I enjoy cycling, but I have never closely followed the leaders of any cycling discipline, so I know little about who's who (except in cyclo-cross!) and was surprised by how inspired I was talking to Olympic contenders, esp. the women.

The Velo Bella Booth was a sight to behold, bedecked with Bella colors, pink, blue, turquoise, plus pink bike, hula hoops, disco balls and perhaps most noticable the best sound system and music in the area. Mostly disco and old school grooves. With Sabine and Laura dancing in the booth, wearing trademark oversized pink fuzzy hats, tunes grooving, it was a Bella fest. You ladies rock, to those Bellas and fellas who set up the booth and volunteered. My favorite part was to just stand back and watch men and women come by and see what it was all about. At ALL times I visited there was always a posse of men in awe, standing nearby...Funny. Bet we got a lot of new Bellas?

The Media Tent Since Velo News is a Sea Otter sponsor, watched them toil away for hours at their computers for their print and online editions which so many of you read.. OLN was dashing around, Greg Herbold in tow, covering downhill. It was fun to have Tom Simpson in the announcers' booth. That great voice of his lends such professionalism to our events!

The Bella Kit works like magic. No matter where I go... people just call out, cheering Velo Bella. It is superb! Tell me again who gets credit for brilliant colors and design?

My Race: 10 am. Sport Women 30-34 Cross Country I had decided not to race Sat. night because I was exhausted from work and commute from Santa Cruz. But Sunday morning, I had my BRAND NEW Bella skinsuit in hand - collected Sat. from Sabine and vanity alone pushed me to debut my new fashion statement on race day.. So at the 10 a .m. start, Iwas nervous in a group of about 60 - they had all the sport women ages 30-50 start in one wave. Yikes. Used to starting with small women's fields! Lungs burned charging up that track to dirt.

All went fine on the crowded course (with Chunky Clydesdale men hysterically trying to pass on singletrack) until about halfway thru. Ironically, after navigating that steep, rutted, technical downhill - lined with crowds staked out to watch for crashes - I had my accident on a flat singletrack. I rounded a corner fast and hit a huge root protruding from the trail. Flew off the embankment into the sea of poison oak, wrenching my left calf severly. With left foot still clipped in. searing pain shot thru leg. stood by trailside as people flew by... and considered my options... but rapidly realized I was in middle of nowhere and despite seering pain... knew full well no helicopter evacuation was necessary! :) Walked quite a bit to regain some mental /phyiscal balance.. Walked and slowly rode to finish. A the final track stretch, let some of those Clydesdale men work for me: tucked behind them for wind protection and pedaled hard to finish in mt. bike pace line.

Yeah. Race done. Was still glad I did it. Best part: getting back to Bella tent: HOME! and enjoying company, Gatorade and bananas with great teammates before heading back to work til 8pm.

Yeee haw!

Thanks Bellas for being the BEST team!

04/20/04 - Sea Otter Week
by Barbarella

First, I would like to thank all bellas and Podium Boys and the Queen for making this otter the best yet. The booth was kick ass and help in the feed zone, clothing afterwards so I didn't freeze to death, endless cheering, and a place to stay was more than I could dreamed of. Here is my story:

Thursday-Super XC
(a strange new idea, imagine a circuit race on your mountain bike with 75% pavement and 25% dirt)

This odd new race was quite fun other than going up the stupid hill on the race track over and over on a bike with fat tires and squishy suspension. Mountain bike women on the road can be a bit scary, wheels touching and some people crashing themselves out put me into a rather cautious mood. We started at the main start/finish and went up the hill, hung a left onto some dirt and then exited back onto the track at the bottom of the corkscrew. I was able to hang onto the lead group through the dirt and then sit in as we went around the track. I was shocked to see that after several laps I was still with the leader including Dunlap, Blatter, Hanusova, Bisario, and several others who I usually only see from behind. After 75 minutes I was still with everyone and finished lagging in the back of the main pack.

Friday-Time Trial
Time trials always hurt. This was no exception. Rhonda Quick started behind me and I got caught about halfway through the course. This was actually a good thing because I paced off of her until she dropped me. Closing in on the finish, I spied Kim Anderson (T Mobile) behind me and was determined to keep her there. The ground was really bumpy coming up to the line and it must have look like I was having an seizure of some sort with the bike bouncing and me flailing about in an all out attempt not to let Kim by. She must have been scared by my convulsions and stayed behind me at the finish. This technique is recomended in only the most extreme of circumstances.

Saturday-Short Track
I had a great position for the start and lined up in the second line with no one in front of me. Starting fast is not my strength. Usually I start and everyone passes me. This time I punched it from the gun and on top of the small hill before turning and descending, I jumped in line and was startled to see only two women in front of me. I kept waiting for the rest of the field to surge around but it never happened! What is going on? Why am I up here? Where is everone else? I got to ride right behind Dunlap and someone else before other fast people came by. The rest of the race is a blur of screaming fans (I heard all of you bellas out there but didn't have enough extra oxygen to wave ), lactic acid build up, and a heroic effort by my lungs. Slowly I got passed by fast women in bright clothing but was able to hang on for the my best finish ever!

This race lasted for nearly an eternity. A seemingly minor detour around the hike a bike (can we please have it back?) added miles and lots of minutes to an already long race. The first lap was actually fun; ripping smooth single track and floating downhills seemed effortless. It was during the second lap that things quit being so much fun. I ate shit going around a corner and the guy behind me almost landed on me (he wasn't hot, otherwise it would have remained fun) and nearly broke some spokes. After jumping on the bike it occured to me that riding with your bars in a different direction that your wheel presents great difficulties. After wrenching on the bars they were a bit straighter and I once again set off to finish the epic journey known as Sea Otter. Nearing the end of the race on the never ending hill, my back was in spasms and the pain face had been perfected. Thankfully Jed was near the feed zone screaming and yelling with such gusto and fervor and enthusiasism that the pain face cracked into a smile and started laughing. I finished alone really happy to be done.

groan, ouch, ache, groan

04/20/04 - Sea Otter Thoughts
By Heather Kirkby

Most memorable Sea Otter thoughts...

* Seeing Alyson Lowery at the start line for singlespeed –- DUDE! On a beeeautiful Merlin Titanium SS -- DUDE!

* Seeing drops of blood on my white frame (while racing) and realizing it was mine (I crashed but just hopped back on and kept riding. It was so dusty I really had no idea what I'd done. Seeing
blood on my frame was the first indication that I'd probably departed with a chunk or 2 of skin).

* Hearing the roar of the crowds at that steep, rutted section (re-route from hike-a-bike) and knowing they are all watching for a spectacular crash! What is this? Gladiators? I kept the rubber
side down this time but nonetheless got cheers just for being a Bella, of course.

* Chilling in the Bella booth surrounded by hula-hooping girls, exotic
drinks, fancy VB cookies and a poster of a HealthyNet boy proclaiming his love for the Bellas – now, THIS is bike racing.

* Watching our fearless leader and the master of Bella ceremonies in
constant action (and accessorized with nothing less than a Hello Kitty backpack!!!) ... Sabine!

* Watching the Luna chix getting their dirty legs wiped down (by men with towels) immediately after their race (literally, their asses were parked in the middle of the raceway a few hundred feet beyond the finish line). So, is this a task our podium boys would consider taking on??? Or do we need to recruit more man-help?

Funniest moment...
* Watching a downhill racer march into the First Aid tent, grab his crotch, and proclaim "a dog bit me!". I, for one, thought he'd seriously had his weiner chomped on by some dog. Not quite. The
bite was in the extreme high thigh area, dangerously close to 'the goods'.

Most challenging moment...
* Waking up on Monday morning. Man, did a truck run over me on Sunday?

04/20/04 - Continued Sea Otter Thoughts
by Don Hendricks

Yep, Alyson's one badass Bella, and that was after finishing her Shakespeare / Hamlet homework (if one don't kill ya, the other will).

One the funniest moments that will stay in my mind was, after heading up to Pro XC feedzone duty with another Bella Booth Boy, on a borrowed mountain bike (to make it up the hill).

A few minutes later, up the hill pedaled both Sabine and Laura in their fuzzy hats, on 40 pound StingRays (a FairLady and a Slik Chik).

They had passed slower mountain bikes on the way up, with their bike baskets stuffed with cameras, Belgian beer, striped shortbread cookies, and Laura's margarita.

The looks in the feed zone from the spectators was beyond priceless! We'll have to expand this concept at other races, with foldout Tiki Lounge, boombox blaring Motown, with croquet, liar's dice, or shuffleboard to complete the picture. And yes, it would be a sacrifice, but I'll be there to help with wipe down as needed. I was already on duty to hold bikes and hand out jackets, vests, armwarmers, etc. to the crosscountry gals - who were blotted by the end of Sunday's race - if I hadn't thought I might be hit, I would have tried to help with Jessica's knee warmers, since she wasn't moving much by then, sprawled out on the cold Laguna Seca pavement.

04/20/04 - Still More Sea Otter Thoughts
By Jen Chapman

I second Heathers mention of thanks to our fearless leader Sabine. A huge thanks also to everyone who volunteered at the tent and of course our wonderful event coordinator to the stars, Laura.

My thoughts on Sea Otter. Always be ready to change race strategy at a moments notice. I thought I was feeling great in the cat 3/4 road race on Friday until the last lap when I realized my legs were going to cramp up and become increasingly unwilling to work. I can handle a pretty good level of pain when it comes to racing hard and after Friday I think I may have had a breakthrough into a new level of pain never before experienced.

At one point while I was just struggling to keep upright on the bike going back Barloy for the last time I passed a large pile of blood drying in the sun. I thought back to the poor cat 5 guy who had crashed there at the beginning of his race. Our group passed him right after his crash and it looked like he was going to have a serious case of road rash. I hadn't thought about him again until I passed his coagulating blood on the road. It actually helped motivate me to finish the race as I couldn't compare my cramping pain to what that poor guy was going through. Back at the Bella tent I was greeted by Ginger who was warming up on a trainer. It was so great to see her there getting ready for her circuit race that I completely forgot about my bad race. Funny how a tent full of Bella's can completely change your mood.

The circuit race was my chance to wipe the slate clean from Friday's race and try it again. It was a great chance for Erin, Jane and I to work together and bring back rider after rider until there were only 4 or so in front of us. Before we knew it the race was over and I came out of it without a single leg cramp. Huge victory over the previous day. I couldn't spend too much time hanging out at Sea Otter as I had family from out of town visiting. My dad told me that he can understand why I enjoy racing on a team as he very really impressed with how everyone genuinely appreciates each other. Yep, I have to agree!

04/20/04 - Final Sea Otter Thoughts
by Sarah Kerlin

I have to say, I have had more bad years at Sea Otter than good. The XC race is always hard, but this year was the mother of them all. One year I was hanging in my local bike shop post Sea Otter, and Mike Ferrantino was in the back, commenting that "Sea Otter rips everyone a new a%%hole!" Couldn't have said it better myself!

But this year is absolutely the best time I've ever had, thanks to all my teammates. It was so exciting to be part of my first big pro international event, as well as my first stage race, (and first races of the season -ouch!)

It would have been easy to feel overwhelmed and under gunned in this race, had it not been for the atmosphere created at the Bella Booth. With home base being a disco-hula hut , there was no chance my nerves were going to get the best of me! So suffer as I did, I kept a smile on my face. Somehow I pulled off my best XC performance at Sea Otter ever - which is to say I did not stop on the final climb up the the Grind to lean over the bike and inhale a Clif bar. For once, I actually accelerated over the top of that @#$! hill, laughed out loud when I saw Jed doing whatever cheer that was, and motored on home. For a short-race gal like me, that was a big accomplishment.

And all the team support is so appreciated! Thanks to everyone for the positive vibes, and bike maintenance, feed zone support, the most visible cheering crew, and all the little things that make a racer's day easier.

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\Barbarella on her way to a 14th place in Pro Short TrackBarbarella on her way to a 14th place in Pro Short Track














Karen goes FAST in her Velobella skinsuit at Sea OtterKaren goes FAST in her Velobella skinsuit at Sea Otter
















Suzy enjoying lap one on her singlespeedSuzy enjoying lap one on her singlespeed















Big juicy bella kisses to the Healthy Net boys at Sea OtterBig juicy bella kisses to the Healthy Net boys at Sea Otter
















Just another fine fixure in the Velo Bella Tiki-Hula HutJust another fine fixure in the Velo Bella Tiki-Hula Hut



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