Vello Bella La Gazzetta
Team Velo Bella
La Gazzetta
Regional News
Rides & Races
Bella Bazaar
Tips & Tidbits
Bella Cafe

Race Reports Archive

February 2004

02/21/04 NEWS FLASH:Wake up and Smell the Cow Poo
by Tracie Nelson

SMELLING RR: 02-21-04

Bumfriggin' Nowehereville, CA - Local and not-so-local racers showed up in masses today for the 17th annual Smelling Road Race held in the bustling metropolis of Smelling, CA (population 314). Deterred by neither the early morning raindrops or the potentially full field, the category four women arrived in a downpour of ravenous, bloodthirsty hunger.

We caught up with Tracie Nelson, who is well-known within the pelaton for proving that brains and beauty can and does exist on the bike. Nelson, of Velo Bella, reported that "I was worried that I would get here and end up having to race with the cat4 men. But I wore my push-up bra just in case and am ready flaunt my A-cup if necessary."

Nelson, among others were admitted into the women's pelaton and others were placed on a waiting list. A total of fifty women conjured on the line. Among them were Suzy Nahlik and Denise Ramirez, also of Velo Bella.

Nahlik, who lives so far away that she actually left her home in Sacramento with hopes to race the 2003 Smelling Road Race, but arrived only in time to race today, was heard telling competition on the line that "I'm going to kick your puny road racing ass! "**

The category four women rolled away in a chatter as they promenaded with style through the avenues and boulevards of Smelling. Both first-time and experienced racers seemed content to use this as an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the pack.

Lori Conelly, of Mako Galaxy-Granola, used the opportunity to chat with reporters. "My bike is actually voice-activated" said Conelly. "I have to keep talking otherwise it will come to a dead stop and I will fall over in a pathetic heap."**

Once upon the 11.7-mile circuit, the lead vehicle pulled away and the real racing began. The women's pack clocked a blinding eight miles an hour in the tailwind section. Race organizers promise a thorough investigation of possible performance enhancing drug usage.

But women's racing is not all fun and games. A right hand turn on the backside of lap one left some riders with nothing to show for their hard work except bloody knees and broken equipment. "I was riding toward the front of the pack," reported the rider who initiated the crash (rider requested to be left anonymous), "when I decided it might be kind of cool to just fall over and see how many people I could take down."**

Nelson, who was directly behind the crash, reported that "I saw it all happening in front of me and luckily I was able to get around it by thinking of something a teammate's husband had said - I just just kept peddling! I felt someone crash into my rear wheel and afterward noticed that something was wrong with my rear brake. My teammate [Ramirez] assured me that everything looked okay so I just kept riding, using only my front brake."

Nelson, apparently maddened by her mechanical problems and frustrated with the pace of the field, issued several small attacks at the end of lap one.

"I knew that Tracie was strong because she beat me at Cherry Pie two weeks ago," reported Elizabeth of Peak Cycling/Body Concepts. "I also knew she was really nice because she gave me her pie. Tracie is just so cool! So I quietly approached her with the idea of getting a break. I thought we'd have a pretty good chance."**

Nelson continued attacking the field on the rollers of lap two, but to no avail. "I was very frustrated," Nelson told us afterward. "The racing today was very negative. I suppose I could have sat in and waited for a field sprint, but I came here today to race. I did not wake up at 4am and drive two and a half hours to ride slow through the agricultural boonies. I wanted to pick up the pace of the race, but no one was taking my bait."

After issuing another attack at the start of lap three, Nelson finally managed to significantly dwindle the field. Unfortunately, she also dwindled herself, and was unable to stay in contact with the lead group. Several racers have reported hearing Nelson mumble to herself as she dropped off the pace, "suck my balls, you manwhores.... agh! Wait! Stop! the name of Velo Bella!"

"I saw Suzy in the lead group and I knew that she is strong. I was confident that she would play it smart, unlike me," said Nelson.

Nahlik did play it smart and showed her brute strength in the final meters, sprinting to a gold medal finish. Says Jed, Nahlik's husband, "Suzy was like 20 meters off the front! She won! She won! She won! She won!"

Nelson rolled in after the lead group for a top 20 finish. Ramirez, who reported eating a nasty sausage for breakfast, rolled in with grace soon after. Conelly, who finished in the lead group, stopped talking after crossing the line and fell over.

Nelson reported that after finishing she checked her back wheel and noted that her back brake was indeed rubbing. Nelson is currently being sued by Lance Amstrong's lawyer for plajorism. Nelson will be defended by the same lawyer as Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson.

"All in all, I am glad that Suzy did well and that Velo Bella was a strong presence in the field," Nelson quoted. "I had fun racing aggressively. After weighing the importance of good results versus frustration I felt today, I have submitted my upgrade request."

** some quotes may be embellished or slightly fabricated

02/15/04 - Cool
by Kim Heiser
Let's just start by saying that we were lucky last Sunday. The weather held out all weekend and the course was dry enough so that every section was rideable....well maybe except for the jump at the end!

Total, there were 4 Bellas out there. Daphne, Jessica, Suzy and myself. Can I just say that Daphne is a stud! She was the only female who dared to race sport in her age group. How awesome is that.

The Pro/Expert class (yes I actually had to race against Jessica and I asked her to take it easy on me....please!), the single-speed class, and I think the clydesdales too all got released at and women. Since the course starts on a fire road then quickly jumps to single track it was quite a cluster....and we women know how the boys don't like to let us get in front of them. Oh well, a few of us did and as always it was great.

We headed off onto the trail and for the first 30 minutes I thought I was just going to die. You know that really high pitched wheeze someone makes when they have asthma and need their inhaler?....yeah well that was what I sounded like. I thought to myself "shit, screw the LSD rides I need to do more race pace rides....what am I thinking, I'm going to die doing 2 laps at Sea Otter....screw base!!!" Well let's just say a lot of other thoughts went through my head, such as why am I doing this, am I worthy, etc etc....but towards the second half of my first lap my breathing and heart rate settled in and I was just focused on dropping Sycip girl behind me and keeping my friend Linda (who pretty much only rides a single speed and came back from Australia last November with the WCSS '03 tattoo on her back and won the solo 24-Hour race in BC for the SS class....I think you get the point) in my sights.

Halfway through the first lap I completely lost Jessica...she just took off, bye bye! I did drop Sycip girl by the end of the first lap and Linda didn't get away from me until the last bit of the second lap. The second lap was the greatest. Right at a little creek crossing were 2 boys probably about 14ish and they were both yelling "Go, Bella". Not much longer after that I passed a guy that said "where the hell are you girls from, you've got some strong women, each one of you has passed me". I just smiled as much as I possibly could...I should've said "we were from Venus!" Hah.

It was a great race and when it was all said and done I knew exactly why I was out there wheezing, snot all over, mud covering most of me....I love it! Jessica came in first, Linda (single speed stud) second and I took third. I think somewhere midway through the first of the 2 laps Suzy flatted which was too bad since I know she was very excited about racing at Cool again this year.

02/08/04 - Cherry Pie: I've been converted!
By Tracie Nelson
There is no race that I have more of a love-hate relationship with than the Cherry Pie Criterium. It must have something to do with my history of treacherous performances there, and yet I found myself this morning, for the fourth bloody year in a row, packing up my bike and heading to Napa for a serious ass-whooping.

So I showed up to that ugly little business park thingy, or whatever it is, and sludged myself up to registration. Nothing has changed from last year; spectators abound, winners gloat over their stupid pies, and that stupid fast food on wheels thing is still parked up by the stupid start line, and stupid people still actually buy stuff from it. As I forked over my 15 bucks, I tried to avert my eyes from the start list, but my peepers couldn't take the suspense. Shit. Taitt Sato. Kate Landau. Excel Sports Chick. Jen Whattley. Katherine "I make the boys cry on the local Saturday ride" Curi??? I was afraid to look farther, and after receiving my number headed off to the port-a-potties to crap out my nerves.

Not seeing any other bellas around, I thought with dismay that they must have decided not to come. Sigh. My only warm-up company was the sound of the Velo Girls clan warming up nearby. "Okay Ladies! I want to see everyone at AT for 45 seconds! In"

I slapped on my lucky pink fuzzy slap-bracelet from the VB Party
and headed up to the start. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? But Jen, Jessie and Laura on eight tiny. umm, yeah I guess that part doesn't work. I was much pleased at the sight of Jen's pink hair, and Laura's blue hair, and Jessie? Yeah, I guess Jessie just thinks she's special or something and doesn't NEED colored hair. Hmph.

So on with the meat of the story, Tracie, jeez we don't need to know all the details about your silly hair.

I'd say there were 40-or-so women total on the line. That doesn't include Laura though, she was too busy shindigging it with the race promoters in the bathroom. (Oops, sorry Laura.) The race was mostly fast, but the first lap was mostly REALLY fast. I found myself in second position, which was good I guess, because they frickin pounded it up the hill and I lost a few places. About twenty minutes into it Excel chick and Rona chick (k. curi) attacked and got quite a distance on the field, which had by this point vastly dwindled.

I think it was at this point that, realizing I was not going to get dropped and my legs didn't feel like those of an anemic 80-year old woman, I started to remember why I love crits, and why I was here. Life was suddenly beautiful, in a coughing up snot and mucus membrane sort of way. Los Gatos was the biggest team there, and it was obvious they had every intention of being the most well organized. I checked for radios, but thankfully they must have left them at home. About five of them stayed up toward the front but I'm not sure if they were trying to organize a chase or get one rider to bridge up individually. At one point one of them (I think it was Starr Falk?) tried to convince us that we're all one team till the end, since it's obvious no one is getting away. Jen pointed out that two women were still up the road, and Kate Landau promptly issued a couple of her typical attacks. I covered one of these, and was a little worried that if Kate pulled off I would be forced to take a pull. But after all, this is Kate we are speaking of.

Coming up the hill with three to go there was a crash. Not sure what was up with that, but it wouldn't be Scary Pie without a crash in the women's field. No injuries, no bellas involved. Los Gatos started to form a train but I guess something wasn't going right for them (?) because halfway through the last lap they slowed down so much I thought maybe we were stuck in some kind of time warp. Just as I was thinking "man, someone's got to do something" Laura Sanchez came screaming by me like a frickin escapee from the loony bin. It was ingenious. Laura sat on the front and Jen attacked into the corner, followed by a Los Gatos rider and little old me, which would have been great would I not have died and gone to hell in that sprint.

In any case, Jen: 9th in the 1/2/3s, Jessie: 3rd in the masters, Me: 3rd in the 4s, and Laura: the coolest sacrificial lamb that I know. Rona chick won.

After the race we celebrated by eating some pirate testic.... I mean CANON balls and collected our pies. I gave mine away to the 4th place cat4 because I felt bad that she didn't get any prize to take home and show for her hard work. After I did that I had about 20 people scold me for not giving THEM my pie. Hmph. After seeing "American Pie" I REFUSE to give my pie to anyone who is a man. No exceptions.

All in all, I can come out of today saying that I LOVE the cherry pie
criterium, I had lots of fun, and I think Velo Bella is in for a killer season!

P.S. I used Basis.

02/08/04 - The Power of Pie and Bella
By Jessie Hickel

2 things about February:

1) The sun rises a minute early and sets a minute later. So from Feb 1st to Feb 29th, an hour's worth of sun light is gained.

2) The girls that show up at the starting line in Napa show up in shape and ready to get it on.

After a long season last year what with that stupid cross thing, I was
having fun being swimmer girl, I was not going to race until Sea Otter. The thought of actually having teammates at Cherry Pie and the Chapman's new groovy van. I could not resist, bring on the 2004 racing season.

The ride to Napa we giggled and gossiped like little French school girls, including Brent. A wee bit of race planning was discussed but in the back of my mind I was very unsure of my bike fitness and just didn't want to get dropped in the first 5 min. Laura said that in the last 5 laps that's when we should get into position.

For the first time in 7 times I’ve done this race, the race started on time so we pulled up to the line in time to hear the official say we were all going to start together ( I pity the first time Cat. 4 rider). We were so far back that we were starting in Vallejo, this would not do. So I used the gutter and brought Laura and Jen with me up to the front of the start line. This was probably the smartest thing I did all day.

The race was fast and furious, I checked my watch and praise the Velo Bella God 30 minutes had passed. I was cruising along and I felt great-lungs bursting, snot and drool flying on a beautiful sunny day in Napa with 4 of my friends in the front group. With 5 laps to go I made a feeble try for a break but it was so weak I think the only person to notice was Laura, who went flying along as soon as I got pulled in. The final sprint to the finish line I swear that hill gets bigger and they move the finish line because I liked to died. Anyway none of use went down in the crash. Jen was caught in the mix of it but she listened to Brent and just kept pedaling.

Thanks Brent for all your help at the race. I had a blast and I've got race fever again. It's amazing the power of the pie and Velo Bella.

02/08/04 – Cherry Pirate’s Ball
By Jen Chapman and Laura Sanchez

We arrived exactly 1 hour before the start and just enough time to warm up and get registered. I am so lucky to have my #1 Podium Boy Brent who got us all set up on the trainers and numbered up and hydrated and cheering us on and taking photographs, and on and on.

Laura thought it would be a good idea if she and I eat some Pirates Balls before the race to help give us that aggressive edge. They kind of stunk like well Pirate Balls so I only had one. Not sure how many Laura had but I can tell you that for someone made out of sugar she sure put some bitter sweet hurt on the field at the end of the race. In case anyone is wondering, Pirate Balls are puffed cheese snacks, just thought I would clear that up.

I was especially out of control through the first half of the race as the
course had a bunch of holes and crazy corners with cones all over the place. There was a crash with about 4 or 5 laps to go. It just so happened it was an LGBRC girl who elbowed me out of my line just a few seconds before. I was on Tracie's wheel and she pulled up along side of me and moved her elbow into my side to push me out of the line. I figured it wasn't worth the fight at this point and just slipped in behind her. Low and behold she ran into the back of another rider getting lapped and splat, careened to the pavement right in front of me. I was still angry about her elbowing me out of my line and not about to let her take me down also so I pulled as far as I could to the left and her bike started to get tangled with my pedal and rear tire. I remembered Brent's near crash in the Burlingame Crit a few years back and he said when you get into trouble just keep pedaling as hard as you can. So I pedaled hard and somehow managed to get free of her and after bouncing off another rider was able to balance myself again and catch back on.

I was really impressed with how Tracie maintained a great position during the entire race. She was in the top 10 the whole time and moved through the field really smoothly. Jessie was always there also and Laura and I managed to move up to the front about half way through. One of us should have tried to catch the break early on but it was a pretty fast pace and would have been hard to get a clean jump on the group without dragging everyone along for the ride. The last lap we all came together close to the front and then Laura put on the famous last lap attack that messed with the train forming at the front. I couldn't let her have all the fun so I pulled out of my line and attacked before the last corner to the hill and just kept pushing until the finish line.

I am so excited about how freakin fast all of my teammates are and it's only February. Velo Bella is going to be a strong presence this year.

Laura says it was the Pirate Balls that helped her attack the final lap,
because she looked around at the cream puffs and thought "Arrrr...I eat Pirate Balls."

By the way, Tracie makes an excellent Pirate impression, Captain Hook style. Laura's sounds like a barking chihuahua dog. Jessie makes a better wench than pirates, and for that matter, I think we all do.

In the end we came home with two cherry pie finishes,
and thank goodness we didn't have to eat any more stinkin pirate balls!


<< Back to Race Reports Back to Top


\The Power of Pie and Bella. Tracy and JessieThe Power of Pie and Bella. Tracy and Jessie














Snelling Feed Zone...moooooo!Snelling Feed Zone...moooooo!















Warming up all serious like and intimidating the competitionWarming up all serious like and intimidating the competition
















Laura may be made of sugar, but she's no cream puffLaura may be made of sugar, but she's no cream puff
















Swing-it Baby Nelson & Go Go SanchezSwing-it Baby Nelson & Go Go Sanchez















Bellas eat Pirate Balls before Crits...aaarrrrBellas eat Pirate Balls before Crits...aaarrrr



Home  Contact VBM  Disclaimer  Site Map  Credits
Oh La La!
© 2005 Velo Bella