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Race Reports Archive

May 2003

05/21/03 - Why I Loved My 24 Hour Singlespeed 5-Bella Team
by Heather Kirkby

To decide our first rider we played a game of rock, paper, scissors (and as I watched Hillary run her way to a definitive 2nd place among all the women I knew the right girl on our team had won r,p,s). For those who don't know - it's a running Le Mans style start - they had to run something like a 1/4 mile!

Hillary was totally cool with my very non-effective first transition (I wasn't there to pick up the relay stick and she had to find me milling about the transition area!).

Jen, so laid-back and mellow, laid down the fastest women's lap time on the non-National course riding a singlespeed (Inglis Retrotec) cruiser with a rad blue flame paint job. She won a new set of Mavic wheels!

My ss bike, Spot, has been owned by 2 other women on our ss team (Jen and Sabine).

Our lap tracking system consisted of a piece of cardboard hanging from string, with our names written in silver marker in riding order.

Alex drove all the way from Mammoth to race...and hammered all her laps...and she lives in a town where the riding season hasn't even yet begun! THE Velo Bella goddess.

Wearing the Bella jersey during night laps guys would ask "are you Shelley" "are you Sabine" and so on and so on.

Hurl Hill hurts (and I love my team because if they are crazy enough to ride it multiple times, then so will I despite the loud protests from my lower back and legs)...and that THING after the last bridge hurts too, yeah, you 24 hr chickies know what I am talking about. Does that have a name? Can we name it? How about The Grunt? The other ideas running through my head are much better than that, but not fit for print.

As much as I really don't want to see The Grind for a very long time, especially on a ss, the suffering of it all was made better by the fun of passing lots of boys (trust me, if I had gears I would have been going their pace but the "beauty" of ss is that was not an option).

As I lay around at 3am waiting for lap #4 thinking my quads were going to erupt in flames any minute and questioning my sanity, there was peace in knowing there were four other women out there with quads-on-fire too, and an equal lack of sanity.

Somehow our timing was such that we each did exactly 5 laps!

A quick bike swap prior to the end of Alex's (and our team's) final lap allowed her to cross the finish line in styleriding the Schwinn Fair Lady (which is of course also singlespeed).

We won the open 5 women category! Woo-hooo!

05/21/03 - About My 24 Hour Race
by Alyson Lowery

Number one way to know that you are crazy or just like to try things for fun:
When you volunteer to do the La Mans start!
The run was fine until I got to the top of the pavement and they announced that the first women Kathy from Velo Bella was already done!! How sad, I still had to keep going, uggg oh well at lest it was down hill!!! (Ok I admit that I did have fun starting!!)

Number one way to know that you are sleep deprived @ 4:45AM:
(do I really want to share this with everyone?)
When you wear your bike shorts backwards for an entire lap and did not even notice!
I realized this about 20 minutes or so after I was done with my lap wondering why my velo bella lettering was up side down. Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh- Hey I was tired and it was dark when I got dressed!! Can't believe nobody told me! Guess they were all chickens!!

Number one way to know that you are really really slow on your last lap up the grind:
When the guy on the uni-cycle passes you! How embarrassing!!

Number one way to redeem yourself after the unicycle passes you: Go flying by him on the last climb! (Thank God I did not let a unicycle beat me)

My Super Star Team.

First off thank you to my team for doing such a kick ass job! You guys did not "Drag" ass at all!! Next year we will be team Bellas Dragon Ass Extreme!! Because I will actually do some training prior to the event!! You guys are going to race again next right???

Jeni- thanks for helping me get ready for the la mans start.

Julie- way to race with that bum knee of yours! I hope it gets better soon, and thanks for those whoopee cushions! They were so funny!!!

Brenda- way to race with that cold of yours thanks for all your spirit! I hope you did not get any sicker.

Suzy- Way to go on that last lap of the day!! You did not drag ass at all you hauled ass on that last lap!!

Other Important People

Shelly & Wizz - great to see you after my night lap thanks for stopping by on your long drive home from Big Bear! Where is my milk shake?? Just kidding. Hey thanks so much for the hugs, it definitely boosted my encouragement!!

Mom and Dad- thank you for cheering, and unpacking the car when we got home! :)

Sabine- thank you for helping organize such a kick ass velo bella weekend!!! Oh yeah, I found a unicycle on e-bay for you to race next year!!!!

Ashlyn- Thanks for cleaning up camp.

All of the other velo bella 24 hour racers thank you for all your encouragement!!

Thanks again to all the wonderful volunteers and to everybody who shouted out the Velo Bella name.

05/21/03 - My 24 Hours of Adrenaline Memorable Moments
by Julie Starling

  1. Driving up with Heather, the guy at the gate remarking “Wow, more Bellas! You Bellas are going to rule this race!”
  2. Forgetting that I was actually racing when I met oxygen deprived Suzy coming in from her lap to hand me the baton for my lap. I tried to be helpful by taking her bike for her to walk back to the campsite instead of running to my bike to race! Thankfully her oxygen debt didn’t burn all her brain cells and she reminded me to go get my bike and race! Oops!
  3. The Bella who was so exhausted, she did an entire early a.m. lap with her shorts on backwards!
  4. All the people who approached us and told us how much they liked the Bellas.
  5. The 15 minutes of sleep I got.
  6. Drinking enough Cyto-crack to remain clear and copious.
  7. Chanting to myself each time on the Grind “Why the HELL am I doing this?”
  8. Contemplating who was nuttier, the solo competitors or the unicycles competitors.
  9. Fantasizing each time on the Grind about pointing my bike in the opposite direction of the 500 mph (ya, that's it, 500 mph) headwinds and heading to the nearest ice cream shop.
  10. Switching between angry because my helmet light was out and I couldn’t see around corners on the single track and happy that it was out because I couldn’t see how slowly I was riding up the Grind at 2 a.m.
  11. Telling every single person in our campsite, “I don’t camp.”
  12. Being so tired you can’t eat.
  13. Being so hungry you can’t sleep.
  14. Sabine’s face when I suggested she race solo next year.
  15. Sabine’s face when later, Suzy suggested the same thing to her.
  16. Fantasizing each time how the next lap I will walk Hurl hill, but didn’t.
  17. Being too oxygen-deprived on the top of Hurl hill to even utter “no” to the volunteers offering drinks.
  18. All the air time the MC gave the Bellas at the finish line and pre-race. “Bellas in da Howwwssse.”
  19. Watching legendary Tinker Juarez come into the finish at his last lap to win the National Solo Men’s event--21 laps in 24 hours—sick.
  20. The VB spirit, especially at the awards ceremony. Despite sleep deprivation, our spirit was unmatched when our teammates were called to the podium!

Thanks to all the awesome volunteers at our camp. Ashlyn, Kathy, Laura who created atmosphere and kept things orderly. Thank you Todd, Jen’s Velo fella, who saved my life on so many occasions--fixing things on my bike or getting an ice bag together for me.

Thank you Sabine for all the hard work you did pulling it all together.

Thank you to our wonderful Dragon Ass team captain, Alyson, for

  1. Her team spirit,
  2. Running the Le Mans start because three of us were too gimpy or wimpy and one of us had a family obligation and,
  3. Handling all our paperwork.

Our team, Dragon Ass, had its challenges: 2 women in college facing finals, 1 run down with a cold, another woman balancing this race and a family obligation, and me with my recent back of the knee injury. We were the gimps, but happy to be there.

Despite our "nom de plume," Dragon Ass, our team didn’t do too bad, 4th out of the 9 teams, getting beat only by our own Velo Bellas on the single speed team in FIRST and 2 other fast teams of women. We finished with 22 laps in 24:31, about 40 minutes behind 3rd place team Cookie Parade, with 22 laps in 23:51. Not too shabby for the gimps!

Thank you team Bellas Dragon Ass for racing together…I LOVE you guys! Sniff sniff…

05/21/03 - Here Are a Few Highlights From a Strictly Volunteering Point of View
by Kathy Matejka

Velo Bellas live the insanity by volunteering for the shifts that no one in their right minds would take--you know who you are ;) The world is a *very* interesting place at 3:30 in the a.m.

Said insanity is rewarded by the race management telling you that "You are the best volunteer that ever worked in this spot". Uhhh, if you say so... ;)

I worked as the number recorder at the timing trailer, just in front of the transition tent, from 3:30-8:00 a.m. Who knew that dawn was breaking at 5:20 each day?

Austin Powers, the Spy Who Shagged Me is even funnier at 4 a.m. on the big screen. Fat Bastard is still a slob.

I think I saw and welcomed in every Bella except for one on each team. I know that Sabine was the only SS gal I didn't see. Yeah, that bundle of gray and blue polarfleece in a chair was me.

At 6:30 or so, after team #412 came by, again, I asked the timer dude how many laps they'd done. He said 20. With under 19 hours of elapsed time on the clock, he paused and said, "That's really fast." To which I replied, "Yeah, not bad for a bunch of girls on singlespeed bikes, eh?" Priceless facial expression in return!

Working at my real job at 11:00 a.m., after being at 24 Hrs, well and truly sucked! By quitting time at 7 p.m. I was one complete zombie.

Cold beer after a day like that tastes really, really good.

Bellas, you totally rock. What a great day and great event. Next time I wanna ride! Any other newbies feel like giving it a go?

05/21/03 - One Moment of Panic in 24 Hours
by Sabine Dukes

How many of you 24 Hour Racers woke up at some point Sunday night in a panic wondering if it was your turn to race? Now that the race is over, I have a confession. I almost did the unforgivable. I almost missed a baton switch.

Hillary dutifully reminded me to wake up at 3:30a.m. for my approx 4:30a.m. handoff. She also told me, "you have plenty of time". She shouldn't have said that. In my sleep deprived state I had a hard time interpreting the passage of time. I lazily got dressed, took Migo for a walk and putzed around the campsite. I still felt like I had plenty of time left, but I wandered over to the main area anyway.

I made a stop at the bathroom and warmed my hands up on the blow dryer thingie and decided I better go check in and get ready for my lap. As I was slowly walking (yes, walking, I gave up on warming up before riding after lap 1) to the start finish line, a Bella on the course zoomed by me. My brain tried to decode what I had just seen. The logic my brain went through was in a weird slow motion. Zoooom... hey that was a bella about to finish a lap. I'm a bella.
Go Bella.
I wonder which bella that was?
Was, she was sure spinning fast.
Was it....Heather?
Heather is on a singlespeed and would spin fast like that.
She's about to finish.
Good for her, she's looking strong.
I'm glad she's on my team....

Somehow I was able to blast over to the transition tent, park my bike, put on my helmet, plug in my light and pull off the trade off jacket just as Heather was running into the tent. I screamed "Sabine Dukes signing in!" to the timing lady, handed Heather an inside out jacket, grabbed the baton, turned on my lights, jumped on my bike and headed out. I don't think Heather even knew how close it was.....whew!

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Ann Cigan finishes 24 Hours in true Velo Bella style - National Champs!Ann Cigan finishes 24 Hours in true Velo Bella style - National Champs!













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Suzy on her Cruizy brings it home for Team Dragon AssSuzy on her Cruizy brings it home for Team Dragon Ass

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