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Race Reports Archive

June 2003

06/14/03 – A Muddy NORBA National #2
by Shelly Whisenhant
The NORBA National Cross country was held at Snowshoe, West Virginia last weekend, and anyone who follows the national weather knows it has been less than dry on the East Coast the last few weeks. We arrived at the venue Thursday afternoon and pre-rode the mud-bog of a course. When conditions are like this, you spend more time cleaning and maintaining your bike than you do riding! The course was extremely technical, with tons of roots and rocks in tight single track, and the mud just added to the difficulty. We were forced to hike-a-bike about 70% of the singletrack. We were pretty bummed about the conditions in the pre-ride, but the impending rain the next day made things even worse!! The expert race on Friday was rainy and muddy, then for the pro race on Saturday the weather was fine, but the mud just got thicker and stickier with the drier weather. It was a race of survival of equipment and body and I was thankful to survive it, finishing 22nd out of about 60 or so starters. I think I stopped about 4 or 5 times just to yank mudd, leaves, and twigs out of my brakes and deraillurs. Thanks Al, for the mud tires, I used them and they definitely helped. In other news of the race, Alison Dunlap crashed badly while leading the first lap, suffering a broken collar bone I think (unofficially). This was my 2nd ever east coast race, and now that makes two yucky muddy races. Mud is fine for a 50 minute CX race, but 2.5 hours of hiking your bike through the mud is a little less than fun for me, but it WAS still fun.

Looking forward to the races in the dry west now!!

05/25/03 - Half Hamilton
by Jennifer Chapman
I really, really wanted to race with the Cat 1,2,3s on Sunday but soon
realized after driving up the climb to the halfway mark where the Cat 4s start that maybe it was a good thing I had not received my upgrade yet.

It was great to see Tracie there at the start and she looked so strong and ready to go it was a bit intimidating. Tracie has the perfect game face on before races. I was not feeling that great before the race started and just hoping to be strong enough to finish 5th as I needed 2 more points for my Cat 3 upgrade.

As in Tracie's report we had a good break group of about 7 that dwindled as the climbs continued. I felt pretty good on the climbs and really wanted to get the group down to something that I could guarantee my points with at the end. I may have pushed a bit too hard on the last climb and Tracie fell off. I got a bit confused as there was a guy we passed who had a darker jersey on and when I looked back I thought it was Tracie. Not that he even remotely looked like a woman or that the jersey had any pink on it but in my mind it was Tracie. I noticed they were slipping back a bit and I tried to pull back to help them out. I think I may have even slapped my rear to encourage them to try to catch my wheel for a draft. I got closer to this person and had a good look back at them and in shock that they were not Tracie felt a sudden rush of embarrassment as I just realized what I had done to this guy. Not only had he been dropped on the climb from his group but I had slowed up and slapped my butt right in front of him. He must think the Velo Bellas are all either nuts or trying to live up to the slogan on our jerseys. I quickly rushed back up the hill hoping that he would not catch up with us on the decent. Luckily he did not!

Our remaining group of 4 worked together really well through the last 16 or so miles of rollers and wind to the finish. I felt pretty good at the finish and leaped out of the saddle and into a harder gear to keep a gap on the remaining 3 at the finish. As usual I could hear Brent yelling my name at the finish and it felt great to have won a race. I should hold on to that feeling for a while as now that I am going to race as a 3 it will be a long time coming before I am able to place again. I look forward to the challenge!

05/25/03 - Mt Hammerton
by Laura Sanchez
I am icing my legs right now, just in case I get talked into doing the crit tomorrow by the newly annoited badass endo crit chick. Not sure why, only lack of glycogen to my brain would explain it. And the fact that anyone that knows me knows I live "in my own world". A world where miracles can happen and I can magically participate in a Pro/1/2/3 crit with Mt. Hammerton legs when only weeks ago I could barely hang on to those girls. I had only one request of them, which was, "do what you will, just be gentle with me". And that was with fresh daisy legs.

Yes, in my world Mt. Hammerton gives out prizes counting back from last place. Because for my place finish I won a $300 cell phone. Yeah QOM $50 cash prize?! ha ha ha the good prizes were in the back. The back of my field is were I ended up because you can't beat an x marathoner at her own pacing game. And for the life of me no one, no prize can make me go harder than my tempo zone. I like that zone, I can ride it forever. Its just slower than everyone else's in the field. And I knew that early on, when everyone was chatting, and it was beginning to rise. Jessie being of much stronger fortitude stuck longer with that group. She is soo tough!!! Not me I decided I would ride up at my own pace it seemed the better option even though I risked riding 50+ miles by myself.

But back to my prize, in my world when I find $10 in my pocket I get excited because I think yay! I just found $10 in my pocket. I don't think about the part of losing the $10 or that it was mine to begin with. So when my cell phone bounced out of my jersey pocket, I said to myself WOW I just won a cell phone for climbing this mountain!! What a cool prize. That kinda of thinking is what makes me go hard for 50+ miles by myself. I did get a little chance to ride with Jessie after she put in her galiant effort, but I was in my zone by then and it was easier to stay in it, so we didn't climb together for long. Some of you may wonder when you see us solo riders what inspires us to ride so hard for what 30th place? For me, its mostly fun to pretend I actually stand a chance to catch some little group, or pretend that I am in the front and I have to push hard to not let anyone catch me. I even think this will make me better and stronger for the next race even though I am running out of "next races". This is my Mt. Hammerton race report, its "my world" and I like it! I kicked ass in the back and I won a cool prize.

05/25/03 - More Mt Hammerton
by Jessie Hickel
I once did a marathon saying "how hard can it be". I said the same thing when I looked at the race profile of Mt. Hamilton. They are both very hard and took the same amount of time.

Riding the pro 123 is nuts for me. Those girls are thin. After Laura caught me we chit chatted for a few miles but her tempo was too strong, she was tap, tap, tapping it out and I was wiped out.

Once I got to the top (20 miles of climbing) the only thing keeping me going was at mile 40 I could quit at the feed zone. I passed a few guys on the way down and I realized I wasn't going to be last. So in for a penny in for a pound-what another 20 miles anyway.

Over 4 hours in the saddle but I finished. Thanks Laura and Sabine. Mt. Hamilton is a hard road race, it didn't kill me and I feel stronger at my computer right now. The race rolls through some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen and the view from the top of Mt. Hamilton is spectacular. I'm in for next year, by then maybe I can drop 10 pounds.

06/07/03 - How to Win the WOT
by Tracie Nelson
I must admit, I don't get too excited for flat, four-corner industrial
park criteriums that are held in the middle of less-than-exciting places like Livermore. However, after much academic research, anthropological observation, and unbiased interpretation of statistical data, I have devised a fail-proof plan for Wheels of Thunder 2004. Ah, I can taste victory already... HOW TO WIN THE WHEELS OF THUNDER CRITERIUM, TRACIE'S STYLE:

1. WEAR A SKINSUIT. Indeed, it is all about "the look". Besides making you feel fast, the professional appearance of these little bodysuits are intimidating and sexy. No one owns a skinsuit who can't sprint, and no one wears one to a crit who doesn't plan to kick ass. I am thankful, however, that squadra's graphic designer, ill and bed-ridden as he was, had the good sense not to include the "oh la la" comment on the back of these clothing items.

1a. WASH THE SKINSUIT FIRST. Unless you enjoy feeling like someone dumped a loadfull of razorblades in your chamois, putting a new skinsuit in the wash is a wise concept.

2. FORGET THE ROLLERS. Remember all that mumbo-jumbo your coach taught you about warming up? Spinning, raising your heart rate, and the like? A mere waste of time. I suspect that the motivation imparted on me from those groovy Christian tunes in combination with the first 44 minutes of the race will be sufficient to get me through the remaining 30 seconds of the race.

3. DON'T SPRINT FOR THE IN-N-OUT PRIME. With 5 laps to go, conservation is precious. Not only will sprinting for a prime waste your legs, but the fact that you just expended energy for a greasy hamburger? Oh, your racing carreer is doomed, my friend.

4. USE YOUR ELBOWS. Back in high school marching band, we learned that everyone has their own little box. You stay in your box and everyone else stays in theirs. You move as a grid. So the peleton is a marching band too. Next year I will carry a piccolo in my back pocket to remind the competition to stay in their own box.

5. SKIP THE SHOWER, DON'T WEAR DEODERANT, AND EAT BEANS. Although I have yet to employ this tactic for fear of a) extreme embarassment and b) being accused of poor sportstmanship, theory has it that if you smell bad enough, your competitors will either a) be so disgusted that they will let you ride off the front or b) feel sorry for you and let you win.

6. STAY NEAR HEATHER. This girl not only stays up front, but also manages to place in every crit she enters. Glad she's my teammate and not someone else's.

7. TALK TO THE COMPETITION. They hate it when you do that.

7a. TALK TO YOUSELF. There's nothing more intimidating than an insane cyclist.

7b. DO NOT BOAST. An egotistical cyclist will only spawn a revegeful competition. I find that FDR's Big Stick Policy is well applied to a bicycle racing environment.

8. DO AS WOULD THE McGUIRE GIRLS. Although I didn't see the whole thing played out, I know that coming out of the last corner the McGuire team was 1st 2nd and 3rd, and the girl in 3rd position won the race. There is certainly something to be learned from all this.

9. USE YOUR WHEELS OF THUNDER. I had this great idea about getting one of those tiny recording devices and recording some thunder, then putting it on continuous play and hiding it inside my wheel hub or something. I would tell the competition that I had true wheels of thunder, and they would be very frightened, indeed. (See note 7a)

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Team Velo BellaSuenago already looks like a crit pro at Memorial Day CritSuenago already looks like a crit pro at Memorial Day Crit













Jen Chapman sprints for WINJen Chapman sprints for WIN













Jessie rides TEMPO through the feed zone at Mt Hammerton Jessie rides TEMPO through the feed zone at Mt Hammerton














Tracie puts on her game face at Wente CriteriumTracie puts on her game face at Wente Criterium






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