08/03/03 - Getting Schooled at Timpani
By Sabine Dukes
Yeehaw! Laura and I got our asses kicked on Sunday, but it was fun. Why was it fun? Because we are demented.
After the Cat 3/4 race in the morning at Timpani, Laura and I decided to race the 1/2/3 race in the afternoon. Jill, Jenny, Melissa and Jana also decided to race again, so we had company in our masochism.
At the start line, we realized what we were in for. Out of about 20 women, there were 9, yes I said 9, Palo Alto riders. Palo Alto is a strong team, especially when it comes to crits, so to see them line up with 9 women, well, you just know you are in trouble. Besides us double day riders and the Palo Alto girls, there were 2 from LGBRC, and 3 from Phoenix all of whom were fresh. I was hoping they would be fresh enough to stem the PA tide, but alas, we were all in for a good schooling.
The race started well and the attacks started as predicted. I commented to Laura that with this many PA riders to attack, the race would be hard, until a break went. Little did I know how wrong I was.
So the attacks started and were brought back, lather rinse repeat, until an attack went and Laura was up in it. I got to the front and slowed as did Palo Alto. A couple more girls saw what happened and jumped across. At this point, the break was big, 8 women, but Palo Alto seemed content to let it go because they had 4 riders in it and strong rider, Taitt Sato of LGBRC wasn't. So as I rode up front, I felt a sort of comraderie with the PA girls as we sat up long enough to make the break stick. Then, the comraderie suddenly ended. It seemed PA wasn't content to just let the break get away, they also wanted to attack the hell out of us. Probably to try to shed Taitt. Well they succeeded in shedding everyone but. 5 PA riders took turns attacking. I kept scrambling to get back on. As girls were shed from our group it got harder. At one point I noticed that it was just me and Taitt and 4 PA riders. Yikes! I knew my time was numbered and when my number came up and I just couln't hang on anymore, I threw in the towel and waited for some girls behind me to catch up and regroup and wait to be lapped. Taitt, amazingly covered all of their breaks and they could not shake her. Not that any of this mattered because their group got lapped by the break as well.
So thats when it got confusing. We were all back together again, except that with the exception of the 8 riders in the break, the rest of us were lapped. Now, I did not want to interfere with the break, so I sat on the back. But the Palo Alto girls who were lapped, went right to the front and started attacking. At first I was annoyed. Why were they attacking when they had been lapped?! But then I realized, wait, why is anyone chasing them! Silly them for chasing lapped riders. But of course, as long as anyone chases them, we all have to chase them. So here we are all chasing lapped riders instead of just letting them go.
Nonetheless, the group stayed together until the end. Of course, by this time, the non PA girls in the break were all spent. And all but one of them had raced in the morning as well. Coming into the final two turns, the PA riders who weren't in the break, took some pulls and moved to the back and did not interfere with the sprint. The PA riders who were in the break, formed a train at the front and finsihed that way, taking places 1-4. Whew, we all got so schoooled!
Whats the morale of my story, well that we got our asses kiecked and just how impressive it was the way PA worked together and communicated.All of this madness was going on and somehow they all understood what they were supposed to do. Occasionally I heard Brenna talking to the other riders, sometimes I saw hand signals, and sometimes they just knew. Sure they had the numbers, but they also used their numbers in a very coordinated effort. Anyway, Laura and I may have had our asses kicked, but you can be sure that we were taking notes.
08/03/04 - Timpani goes to the Dogs
By Robyn Jenson
The day started the night before because I am babysitting 2 Whippets and at 2am I couldn't find the femail!!!! I'm calling her and looking outside, going up and down the block calling her name anc can't find her!!! I go back in the house calling her, no dog. Then I go to her bed and see the tip of her tail sticking out from the blanket and there she is...asleep!!! Whew. Back to bed to try and sleep some more.
The weather was overcast and cool. We gathered together to warm-up and compare nail polish...Tracies...where did you get yours??? Mine is Wet and Wild 99 cents a bottle!!
The crit started out fast with lots of attacks, tried to block so the front group could get away with Monica in it. Didn't work. Legs were feeling pretty good, but feeling presurre that I would have to race more than 500 meters. Saw lots of Bellas attacking off the front, finally got my oppourtunity and attacked....no one followed.
Found myself about 6-8 girls back on a prime lap...the moved over to the left and I said why not go for it.....started sprinting up the right side and out sprinted a Phoneix girl at the line...YES!!!!! She looked over and said, "You Dog. Nice job...didn't here you come up." that was my hightlight of the race, plus trying to stay in the front of the pack. Turns out I got $20, which went to the Bella Party fund for Patron Tequila!!!!
It was a fast Crit again...everytime I looked at my computer, we were going about 28-29 mph!!!
Waiting for Tequila....
08/09/03 - NCNCA Road Districts from the Feedzone
By Sabine Dukes
The Northern California District Championships were held this past Saturday in Ft Ord. As is usual for this race, the sun came out and so did the wind. And so did all the area's best riders. The women's race was packed with all the top names of Northern California. Velo Bella had our own fine squad of Susy, Shelly and Jen.
Susy was a suprise entrant as we thought she was in Colorado. It seems that Susy has been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. She's relieved to finally figure out what is wrong with her and can get on with healing. In the meantime, she's still racing?!
Shelly officially retired from racing 2 weeks ago at the Idaho NORBA, but thought what the hell, this one was in her backyard. And brave awesome Jen, who started this year as a 4 with just a few races under her belt, threw her hat into the ring because she liked the start time.
I was amazed each time I saw Jen come through the feed zone with the group. She looked tired, but she was still there. I found out later that Jen fell off and chased back on about 7 or so times as attack after attack was launched. Finally, an attack that included the who's who: Karen Brems, Katheryn Curi, Kate Maher, Felicia Greer and Christine Thorburn went away. Since all the big teams except for Velo Bella, were represented, that just left Velo Bella and some single riders to chase. I saw Shelly and Susy doing a lot of chasing and reports are that Carmen D'Alusio contributed a lot of work to the chase. To no avail, the group stayed away and Christine outsprinted Karen to take the win.
Jen fell off for good at the last round of attacks, but hung in to finish the race (many riders just pulled off the course). Apparently she collapsed at the finish line, but by the time I saw her, she was all smiles! weary, but smiles.
Later in the afternoon a few nonchampionship races were held. These races were tough because the wind picked up considerably and the fields were smaller (nowhere to hide).
Tracy was the lone Bella in the 4s. It looked like her group splintered into pieces midway through and all riders trickled in in 2s and 3s. I couldn't tell where tracy ended up, but she sure looked happy to finish.
Monica and new Bella, Sarah, raced the 3s. Monica launched an attack on the wall of lap 3. Sarah stayed on the wheel of the only rider who tried to chase, but Monica, living up to her Ox namesake, stayed away in the wind to take the win and Sarah held off cramps and finished well in 3rd.
Jessie, Laura, new Bella, Marguerite and secret Bella, Liz Beneshin raced the 30+. About mid way through the race a break contaning marguerite, Liz and powerhouse BBC rider, Pat Ross got away. Jessie and Laura took up blocking duties behind them, much the the chagrin of some teammateless riders. Pat rode around with Liz and Marguerite until it was time for her to go, and she went and she soloed in for the win. Liz and Marguetire finsihed 2nd and 3rd. Jessie and Laura attacked their back group and finished 4th and 5th.
The true heroes of the day were our wondeful course marshalls! A huge huge thank you to: Alyson Lowery, Janet Lowery, Laura Sanchez, and Laurie MacFarlane for lonely course marshall duty in the morning. And to Kathie Reid, Julie Glick and Denise Ramirez, for even lonelier duty in the afternoon. Thanks to these wonderful volunteers, we will be able to keep our USCF status for next year.
By Jen Chapman
I was never so happy to simply be pack fill amongst the company I was racing with on Saturday. It felt kind of like being an extra in a big Hollywood movie where you get to walk past the stars and get your 2 seconds of film time. Very very cool. All of the suffering I went through was well worth it. When I say suffering I mean the kind of pain that goes beyond throwing up in your mouth a little (which I did at least 2 times). The first inkling that I was going to be in trouble was when I spotted a red, white and blue stripe band on a jersey, the second was seeing my teammates Suzy and Shelly standing there with me, and the third would be when the race announcer told us he decided to make it 5 laps instead of 4 to make it more of a real road race distance. I looked around at the reaction on everyone else's face and they all seemed to nod in agreement that 5 would be better. Where they all insane? I just looked down at my shoes and told myself to stay in the back and just hang on for as long as I could.
Lap 1 was really hard, I was not at all warmed up for the amount of effort I had to do and was dropped on Barloy. Luckily the pack slowed at the top and I was able to catch back on at the decent. This was a reoccurring event for the remainder of the race, well that and the fact that I kept praying for a flat which never developed. Shelly and Suzy were so awesome, they would drift back to the back and check on me, give me encouragement, and just generally be the great people they are. I didn't learn as much as I hoped in regards to strategy as I was always at the back of the pack but I did get to see a few times when attacks were not really chased down and when others definitely were. I was able to yo-yo back on after each attach until half way through lap 4 when I was jetted off the back for good. At least I had some good company with Star (LGBC I think) and Jill (Palo Alto). We worked together on the last lap convincing each other to stay in the race and not pull out. Star's team had radios and could communicate about the second break that formed after we got dropped and it almost gave us enough motivation to try to catch on to the chasing group. But our legs had other ideas and we settled for just finishing. Star and I pulled each other up lap 5 Barlow climb and came in together at the end. Actually Star let me finish before her as she had more left in her then I did but wanted me to go over the line first. Jill came in soon after. I did collapse at the finish as my hamstring cramped up so bad I thought I was going to have to use a vice to bend it again. Thanks to my man Brent for catching me after the finish. I think losing almost 5 pounds in 4 hours may have had something to do with the cramping problem. I had no idea sweat eighed that much!
What a race! I have a lot of work ahead of me before I go for my Cat 2 upgrade next year. Congrats to Monica for her first place finish and last lap time trial. Awesome teamwork in the masters race and in general a great turnout for Velo Bella at the districts!
08/09/03 - Claim Jumpers MTB
By Alex Fabbro
...and so I attended another mtb event where downhillers outnumbered cross country racers. The Claim Jumpers MTB race in beautiful Austin, NV, was again the race designated as the NORBA Nevada State Championship race for both disciplines. This race is really a lot of fun, even with the shortened course that's long on fire roads but short on single-track. T-Rix Bike Shop does a good job organizing the event, making sure the course is adequately marked (unlike the hapless Tahoe Hopper race), and hosting a tasty barbecue (thanks to the local Lions Club) afterward. I do have an issue with an 1100 start time, since it's just when things really heat up, but fortunately the wind picks up about the same time.
There were only 3 expert women this year, and the other 2 were in the younger age category. Still, I managed to keep Zephanie from the Reno Wheelmen in sight for the first lap (Asa, the third racer, dropped out due to injury), but I had to slow down significantly for the second lap to avoid heat cramping. I kept the overall damage to 5 minutes, which is a whole lot better than the 25 minutes Zephanie got me by in the Peavine Challenge, and by staying on the bike, I ended up the Nevada State Champ for expert Women 35+.
One thing the organizers did that I liked was starting us with the Sport men (and 2 Sport women). It gave us riders of similar abilities to race with and also kept the faster Sport men from mowing us down 5-10 min after we started since we let them line up in front of us.
And instead of shouts of "Sabine" like at the Death Ride, I had several riders shout "Jessica" when they saw me in the Velo Bella kit. So Jessica, you have a lot of Tahoe/Northern Nevada fans out there!